At the Federal Communications Commission’s recent open meeting to vote on government control of the internet, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai required a security detail from the Department of Homeland Security. Midway through the meeting, a bomb threat forced the evacuation of the FCC meeting room, underscoring the extent to which the FCC is understood to exercise sole federal authority over internet regulation. But internet architect Daniel Berninger argues that the FCC’s authority is not as overarching as many presume, and is pressing that argument as lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the FCC first filed in 2015 and scheduled to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018. In his complaint, Mr. Berninger asserts that a proper reading of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the Communication Act of 1934 (as revised by the Telecommunications Act of 1996) delegates no authority over the internet to the FCC.
On January 8th, Hudson Institute hosted Daniel Berninger to discuss FCC authority over the Internet. Mr. Berninger shareed the details of his 20-year journey leading up the Supreme Court challenge. Harold Furchtgott-Roth, Director of Hudson’s Center for the Economics of the Internet, moderated the conversation.