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Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Opposes Net Neutrality

Beardydog writes: An article currently on Ars Technica examines comments about net neutrality issues by recent Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh not only rejects the FCC’s reclassification of ISPs under Title II, but seems to also support a broad First Amendment right to “editorial control,” allowing ISPs to selectively block, filter, or modify transmitted data. Kavanaugh compares ISPs to cable TV operators, rather than phone companies. “Deciding whether and how to transmit ESPN and deciding whether and how to transmit ESPN.com are not meaningfully different for First Amendment purposes.” Here’s what Ars Technica had to say about Kavanaugh’s argument, which did not address the business differences between cable TV and internet service: “Cable TV providers generally have to pay programmers for the right to carry their channels, and cable TV providers have to fit all the channels they carry into a limited amount of bandwidth. At least for now, major internet providers don’t offer a set package of websites — they just route users to whichever sites the users are requesting. ISPs also don’t have to pay those websites for the right to ‘transmit’ them, but ISPs have argued that they should be able to demand fees from websites.” The report also mentions Kavanaugh’s support of NSA surveillance: “In November 2015, Kavanaugh was part of a unanimous decision when the DC Circuit denied a petition to rehear a challenge to the NSA’s bulk collection of telephone metadata. Kavanaugh was the only judge to issue a written statement, which said that ‘[t]he Government’s collection of telephony metadata from a third party such as a telecommunications service provider is not considered a search under the Fourth Amendment.’ Even if this form of surveillance constituted a search, it wouldn’t be an ‘unreasonable’ search and therefore it would be legal, Kavanaugh also wrote.”

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