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.
"California's net neutrality law doesn't ban all zero-rating; it bans anti-competitive forms of zero-rating," Stanford law professor Barbara van Schewick, who supported California in its court defense of the net neutrality law, told Ars today. "The law does ban AT&T's anti-competitive scheme where it counts almost everything people do on the Internet, including watching Twitch, Netflix, and their home security cameras, against users' data caps, but doesn't count the data from AT&T's own video services."
More important, as Professor Barbara van Schewick of Stanford Law School observed in an interview, “Zero-rating only works when you have a low data cap. That creates an incentive for ISPs to keep low data caps and keep unlimited plans expensive. For example, in the European Union, ISPs that don’t zero-rate video give subscribers eight times more data for the same price than ISPs that zero-rate video.” Read more about Opinion: California’s net neutrality law just cost AT&T wireless customers a free streaming perk. That’s a good thing
Not only does this let AT&T give its own services an unfair advantage in the market, the approach lets deep pocketed companies pay AT&T to be exempt from usage caps. Consumer groups say this creates an unfair marketplace where bigger, wealthier companies can buy an advantage over their smaller, cash-strapped competitors—once AT&T gets its cut.