California’s 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear AT&T’s data throttling speed lawsuit

If the FTC were to win this lawsuit, it would have wide-ranging implications for internet service providers.

In an interesting turn of events, a U.S. court appeals in California has ruled that it will re-hear U.S. government claims that AT&T Mobility illegally slowed down or “throttled” data sent to wireless devices. The appeals court had dismissed the case last year.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in its order stated it would reconsider the “data throttling” case before the full or “en-banc” 11-judge panel.

The ruling is significant, since the outcome of the ruling favours the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which filed the lawsuit, it will clear the way for the agency to assume jurisdiction over internet provider privacy practices, in addition to websites, which it currently oversees.

In August 2016, the court had dismissed FTC’s lawsuit, stating AT&T Inc was a common carrier and thus was not subject to FTC jurisdiction.

The 2014 case pertains to the FTC accusing AT&T of deception wherein it had purportedly reduced internet speeds of consumers who had opted for unlimited mobile data plans once they exceeded certain levels.

“We have reviewed the court’s order, and we look forward to participating in the en banc review,” said AT&T spokesman Michael Balmoris.

When asked to respond to requests for comment, the FTC declined comment.

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