The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School is a leader in the study of the law and policy around the Internet and other emerging technologies.
Architecture and Public Policy
CIS explores how changes in the architecture of computer networks affect the economic environment for innovation and competition on the Internet, and how the law should react to those changes. This work has lead us to analyze the issue of network neutrality, perhaps the Internet's most debated policy issue, which concerns Internet user's ability to access the content and software of their choice without interference from network providers.
Stanford University professor Barbara van Schewick, who has long advocated for net neutrality, also said AT&T's elimination of HBO Max zero-rating is actually a good thing for consumers. "This is a win for an open and free internet, including for competing video services and internet users," she wrote. "People should be free to choose which videos they want to watch — whether that’s Netflix, Twitch or their local church’s Sunday service, without the company they pay to get online trying to influence their choices."
In a blog post, AT&T said California’s new net neutrality law bans “sponsored data” services, which let the company pay for the data usage of customers who also subscribed to AT&T’s streaming platform.AT&T, which developed HBO Max after buying Time Warner for $85 billion in 2018, had used sponsored data to let wireless customers stream AT&T-owned video services without it counting against their data limits. The company said the new law affects customers in states beyond California “given that the internet does not recognize state borders.”
Supporters of the California law argue that AT&T offered the data allowance exemptions to steer customers to video services it owns.“Since many people are concerned about going over their data caps, this program gives AT&T’s video services an advantage over competing online video services,” Barbara van Schewick, a professor at Stanford Law School, said in a statement.
“The judge found that the law is on a solid legal foundation and that the ISPs trying to overturn it are not likely to prevail,” said Barbara van Schewick, a law professor at Stanford University who contributed legal briefs in support of the law. Read more about Net Neutrality May Soon Return Thanks to California Judge