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Minnesota's attorney general plans to join suit against FCC, wants net neutrality rules back in place

She wants a court to reverse the FCC's decision to gut open internet protections.

The Essentials

1. Minnesota will soon be suing the FCC over the rollback of open internet protections. Lori Swanson, the state's attorney general, announced her plans via an email update. (You can see a copy of the email on Twitter via @TheEmilyB or @Webster.)

2. Swanson said it was in part a consumer issue, reiterating arguments from net neutrality supporters that the rollback will give large companies more power over what users see. But she also said the lack of protections is a threat to democracy, since businesses could control access to news – favoring things they like, and hiding things they don't.

3. Swanson will join attorneys general from other states (an effort New York is leading) in filing the lawsuit, which will ask the court to overturn the FCC's 3-2 decision. According to The Hill it might be months before the lawsuit can be filed, because the new rules need to be approved first.

What Else You Should Know

Advocacy groups, large web companies and some lawmakers (mostly, though not all, Democrats) waged a public battle to protect open internet protections. 

But in December the FCC – with Chairman Ajit Pai at the helm – went ahead with the vote anyway, choosing to re-regulate broadband internet in a way that means ISPs don't have to follow net neutrality standards.


Could Minnesota establish its own net neutrality protections?

Those standards (implemented in 2015) required internet providers to treat all content equally. Without them, the companies could block access to sites or apps, throttle load times (meaning artificially slow things down), or offer paid fast lanes for platforms to make their content load more quickly.

Consumer advocates worry the vote could lead to new, customized internet packages, where a user is forced to pay more to access certain things.

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