Date: Friday February 11
Place: RTV 226.
Speaker: Barbara A. Cherry
Title: How Elevation of Corporate Free Speech Rights Affects Legality of Network Neutrality
This presentation is based on a research paper written for the 18th Biennial International Telecommunications Conference held in 2010. This paper discusses how consideration of free speech rights form a legal basis in addition to economic rights for establishing baseline obligations on broadband Internet access providers. Importantly, establishing baseline obligations may give rise to conflicting constitutional claims, pitting the economic and free speech rights of individuals against those of corporate interests. Resolving such conflicts further complicates the FCC’s task in both designing and implementing legally sustainable network neutrality rules to govern practices of broadband Internet access service providers.
In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), the U.S. Supreme Court overruled a century of precedent to hold that corporations must be treated identically to natural persons with regard to political speech. This presentation discusses how Citizens United, by elevating the constitutional free speech rights of corporations, diminishes the federal government’s ability to protect consumer interests with regard to network neutrality