AT&T Chairman and CEO, Randall Stephenson, surprised the tech industry yesterday in an open letter saying that “Consumers need an internet bill of rights”, in order to guarantee neutrality, transparency, openness, non-discrimination and privacy protection for all internet users. The open letter comes after the FCC’s decision the past December to repeal the decision that gave the internet a Title II, Common Carrier, designation.
In his letter, Stephenson urged Congress to pen new laws to govern the internet and protect consumers; what he called an “Internet Bill of Rights”, which “protects the open internet for all users and encourages continued investment for the next generation of internet innovation.
The FCC’s repealed ‘Open Internet Order’ of 2016 required service providers to be held to a similar standard to utilities like the telephone, gas, and electricity. Furthermore, the 2015 order classified ISPs as common carriers and expressly banned activities like throttling, blocking and paid prioritization. Media have criticized large ISPs for their potential abuse of internet services after the repeal, but AT&T’s CEO lashed out in his open letter: “We don’t block websites. We don’t censor online content. And we don’t throttle, discriminate, or degrade network performance based on content. Period.”Fullscreen Mode