Google Fears FCC’s New Internet Powers

From: National Journal

The Web giant’s lobbyists are quietly fretting about a recent court ruling.


A recent court decision that endorsed a broad view of the Federal Communications Commission’s authority over the Internet has Google and other Web companies nervous.

In closed-door meetings with regulators and Capitol Hill staff, Google’s lawyers have said they’re worried how the FCC may use its newfound powers, according to multiple people familiar with the meetings.

The extent of the FCC’s authority over Google and other Web services remains unclear, and the current FCC has given no indication that it is interested in pushing aggressive new regulations. But the possibility that the commission could begin telling Google how to organize its search results or handle its users’ data is enough to spook the company’s army of Washington lobbyists.

The FCC and Google declined to comment.

Last month, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the FCC’s net-neutrality rules, which barred Internet service providers from discriminating against or blocking any websites. But the decision was based on the narrow question of whether the rules too closely resembled what are known as “common carriage” regulations.

On the broader issue of the FCC’s power to regulate the Internet, the court gave the commission a huge win.

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