Marvin Ammori is a leading First Amendment lawyer and Internet policy expert. He was instrumental to the adoption of network neutrality rules in the US and abroad–having been perhaps the nation’s leading legal advocate advancing network neutrality–and also instrumental to the defeat of the SOPA and PIPA copyright/censorship bills.
He is a Legal Fellow with the New America Foundation Open Technology Initiative and an Affiliate Scholar at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet & Society. He also heads a law firm and consulting practice, the Ammori Group, whose clients include leading Internet companies and nonprofit organizations. The Ammori Group’s site includes a longer bio and some kind words about his work.
Before starting the Ammori Group, he was a law professor at Nebraska, where he led a program working with U.S. CyberCommand to educate the military’s first generation of “cyberwar” lawyers. His main academic contributions have been in First Amendment theory and doctrine. He left academia to return to Washington, DC, to be a participant again, rather than a spectator, in shaping public policy to advance innovation and free speech.
Before being a law professor, he was a leading advocate for civil liberties and consumer rights as the head lawyer of Free Press. In that capacity, and as the lead lawyer on the seminal Comcast/BitTorrent case, he was perhaps the nation’s leading lawyer on network neutrality, the nation’s most debated Internet policy issue and amongst the nation’s most important recent policy debates. During 2007 and 2008, he was a technology policy advisor to the Obama campaign and to the Presidential Transition.
He is also a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Council’s Term Member Advisory Committee. He is an Affiliate Fellow of the Yale Information Society Project, an advisor to the University of Michigan’s Michigan in Washington Program, and collaborates with Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation.
People working on net neutrality wish for a “third way”–a clever compromise giving us both network neutrality and no blowback from AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and others. That dream is delusional because the carriers will oppose network neutrality in any real form; they want paid fast lanes. They have expressed particular opposition to “Title II” of the Communications Act—something telecom lawyers mention the same way normal people might reference the First or Second Amendments. Title II is the one essential law to ban paid fast lanes.
Outrageous and possibly illegal. That's what Google's executive chairman called the latest chapter in the NSA saga – news that the NSA not only requests data from big tech and telecom companies, but also secretly hacks into their private lines. Yet, last week, seven privacy groups unmasked the real privacy villains in this story and filed a complaint against them with a federal agency.
Net neutrality is a dead man walking. The execution date isn’t set, but it could be days, or months (at best). And since net neutrality is the principle forbidding huge telecommunications companies from treating users, websites, or apps differently — say, by letting some work better than others over their pipes — the dead man walking isn’t some abstract or far-removed principle just for wonks: It affects the internet as we all know it.
In recent months, some copyright holders, pharmaceutical companies, and state attorneys general have made allegations against Internet companies that help users find and share information. In short, they claim that because some users engage in copyright infringement, sell counterfeit products, or otherwise encourage potentially criminal activity on the Internet, the users’ Internet platforms should be held responsible for these misdeeds. That is, Google should be punished for any user’s copyright infringement on YouTube, Facebook for any user’s harassing post, and Twitter for any user’s slanderous tweet. According to the critics, that is, these companies should screen all users’ speech and take on the role of editors or publishers, rather than being open platforms for the speech of millions.
Every so often in human history, something new comes along that warrants a celebration, and that deserves its own holiday. That’s why I propose we celebrate “Internet Freedom Day” later this month.
Comcast Corp. v. FCC is a 2010 United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia case holding that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) does not have ancillary jurisdiction over Comcast’s Internet service under the language of the Communications Act of 1934. In so holding, the Court vacated a 2008 order issued by the FCC that asserted jurisdiction over Comcast’s network management polices and censured Comcast from interfering with its subscribers' use of peer-to-peer software.
In 2005, on the same day the FCC re-classified DSL service and effectively reduced the regulatory obligations of DSL providers, the FCC announced its unanimous view that consumers are entitled to certain rights and expectations with respect to their broadband service, including the right to:
We are inventors, entrepreneurs, engineers, investors, researchers, and business leaders working in the technology sector. We are proud that American innovation is the envy of the world, a source of widely-shared prosperity, and a hallmark of our global leadership.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is at it again. In a joint open letter to Congress, it is leading a push by the music industry to rewrite Internet copyright law in ways similar to its advocacy of the infamous Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) of 2012. SOPA failed miserably in Congress. It was abandoned after more than 15 million Americans objected to the bill’s attempt to restrict Internet freedom as 115,000 websites staged a massive blackout online.
"If you read about the biggest tech battles in Washington D.C. over the last decade, the name Marvin Ammori comes up again and again. A lanky young lawyer, Ammori made his name fighting for free speech online, and leading successful campaigns against the powerful telecom and entertainment lobbies.
His biggest triumphs came in 2015 when the Federal Communications Commission implemented strict net neutrality rules—a ban on Internet providers favoring some websites over others—and, a year later, when a federal appeals court upheld the legal basis for those rules."
"“They were so creative and brought something totally different to activism,” said Marvin Ammori, the general counsel for Hyperloop One, a high-speed transportation start-up, and a board member of Fight for the Future."
"“The average person goes to Coinbase to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin—the average on-ramp is an exchange, and those are easy to block,” said Marvin Ammori, a lawyer who is on the board of digital advocacy group Fight for the Future, over the phone. “If Comcast is the monopoly provider in an area, the provider could decide there’s a preferred Bitcoin exchange.”"
"“The tech community is full of immigrants who started their companies here, so many of them were founded by immigrants,” said Marvin Ammori, a First Amendment lawyer well-known for his work on net neutrality issues who’s general counsel for Hyperloop One, a tech company backed by Elon Musk that’s working on an ultra-fast transit system. “So if you’re anti-immigrant you’re not going to be popular in (Silicon) Valley. If you’re anti-gay you’re not going to be popular in the Valley. ... So it does put Republicans at a disadvantage even if they’re progressive on some tech issues.”
"Currently, the clause says the company can pay either the fair market value at the time of repurchase or the price paid by the employee, whichever is lower. At the recent meetings, in response to a question from an employee, general counsel Marvin Ammori said the board plans to authorise changes to that provision, according to people familiar with the matter."
In 2013, Elon Musk proposed an "open source transportation concept" of levitating vehicles zooming passengers through vacuum tubes at 760 miles an hour. It would be weatherproof, energy-efficient, relatively inexpensive, have autonomous controls. Its impact on urban and inter-city transport could reshape economies and families.
The Federalist Society's 2013 National Lawyers Convention is scheduled for Thursday, November 14 through Saturday, November 16 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. The topic of this year's convention is: Textualism and the Role of Judges.
For almost a decade, network neutrality has been among the most contentious and high-profile subjects of debate in Internet policy. This debate has taken place in government agencies, legislatures, courts, and the public square, in countries around the world. In the U.S., both sides assume the mantle of free expression.
In 2013, Elon Musk proposed an "open source transportation concept" of levitating vehicles zooming passengers through vacuum tubes at 760 miles an hour. It would be weatherproof, energy-
The battle for net neutrality seemed like it was over — but the regulations left a loophole open. Unsurprisingly, ISPs quickly started exploiting it, offering "zero rating" services to do an end-run around true net neutrality. Last week's guest Marvin Ammori joins us again this week, to discussthe true and imperfect state of net neutrality, and the many games internet providers play.
I don't think I need to reiterate how important the battle over the future of encryption is. It's not new, but rather the latest clash in a fight that has been raging for years, and the high-profile example of the San Bernardino attacker's iPhone has cast a spotlight on it. This week, we're joined by longtime Techdirt friend Marvin Ammori to dig into the details of this issue, its potential consequences, and its context in the history of encryption.
On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to approve new net neutrality regulations. If the new rules are adopted, internet service will be regulated like a public utility, a move that will prevent companies from manipulating internet traffic.
It will be a major victory both for President Obama and for a swarm of internet companies that vocally supported net neutrality—everything from Netflix to Twitter, to Mozilla, Tumblr, and Etsy.