On February 1, 2019, the Washington DC Circuit Court of Appeals heard what is considered the most critical prison case inside the history of the net. Its outcome, predicted someday this summertime, will impact the glide of facts without delay and ultimately lose speech.
The contested issue is “internet neutrality,” i.E., a free and open internet that treats all internet site visitors without discrimination, thus making sure a web environment that lets in diverse thoughts to emerge and flourish, giving humans the possibility to choose something pleasant serves their pursuits. Conversely, a non-neutral net offers carrier providers, who control the physical pipes connecting each one folk to the internet, the energy to govern the drift of records and ultimately the possibility to shape our perceptions, preferences, and decisions, whether political or not.
Consequently, internet neutrality is critical to unfastened speech and democracy itself. Since the principle of net neutrality has become born in the US, it’s far ironic that some of the different unfastened world jurisdictions, such as the European Union, have recommended the concept and followed internet neutrality rules, best to observe the USA flip around and abolish its own.
Pantelis Michalopoulos, one of u. S . ‘s pinnacle telecommunications lawyers, is at the heart of this crucial criminal conflict. Michalopoulos is an accomplice and head of the regulatory practice on the prestigious Washington-based law firm of Steptoe & Johnson, a firm of greater than 500 attorneys with offices around the world. Born in Athens, Greece, in 1963, Michalopoulos is a third-technology Athenian who strains his family records to the Ionian island of Zakynthos and the Peloponnese. A graduate of Athens College, the American College of Greece, and the Athens Law School, Michalopoulos went directly to get hold of his Master’s in Law from the University of Pennsylvania.
Michalopoulos has been a defender of internet neutrality from the outset, representing the internet industry, i.E., records providers (along with Mozilla, Etsy, and a coalition of Facebook, Netflix, and plenty of others), as well as public hobby advocates, local governments, and others who assist net neutrality. With Steptoe’s companion Markham Erickson and their group, consisting of any other Greek, Georgios Lewis, they have taken on the powerful gatekeepers. Among others, those consist of AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast, which are combating against internet neutrality for financial benefit, if not for manipulating the waft of records.
And lest we assume that this is a debate over lofty and intangible ideas and ideas with little impact on daily life, it’s miles important to observe that an internet that isn’t impartial, i.E., loose and open, has natural and sensible results. It can make or break corporations and have unfavorable outcomes on numerous fronts, including emergency offerings and public protection. A prime example is Verizon’s slowing down broadband provider while California firefighters have been within the midst of a kingdom emergency that required fast and open lines.
The battle over internet neutrality changed into sparked in 2010, while the USA Federal Communications Commission (FCC), on the idea of President Barack Obama’s landmark “Open Internet Order,” imposed restrictions on the conduct of net provider carriers – giants along with AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon. The limits were then contested and “ping-ponged” twice between the FCC and the DC Circuit Court, subsequently affirmed them in 2016. Enter President Donald Trump’s administration, which usually shares the placement of these gatekeepers approximately net neutrality being horrific for commercial enterprise.
In 2017, the Trump FCC abolished the net neutrality policies, arguing that the net gets right of entry needs to be considered a facts service instead of a telecommunications provider and consequently can’t be regulated. The ping-pong suit persevered with the web enterprise, which depends on the carrier carriers’ forget the right of entry to the pipes, though the FCC’s movement within the equal Court.
This set the level for the February as mentioned above 1, 2019, oral argument, described with the aid of one reporter as an “epic battle.” Michalopoulos has argued in choosing net neutrality before the Court inside the past two instances, making this the 1/3 time he defends the open net.
And but, for all his responsibilities to his customers, Michalopoulos nevertheless reveals time for diffusion of cultural and intellectual interests, along with authoring the prison mystery “The War of Art” below the pseudonym Philip Black peat.
An avid artwork collector, Michalopoulos is also passionate and quite informed about the visible arts. So a great deal so that art permeates not only his everyday life, however additionally his exercise of Law. The net neutrality hearing is a case in point, as Michalopoulos began to artwork to demonstrate his argument that it’s far abnormal for the FCC to classify net get entry to as something aside from telecommunications when it appears to be the crucial telecommunications approach the age.
Waxing poetic, Michalopoulos said the FCC’s choice calls to mind Rene Magritte’s “The Treachery of Images,” a surrealist painting of a pipe captioned “This is not a pipe” – in French, of direction. The reference turned into truly no longer misplaced at the newshounds present. It not handiest hit the mark but also spun its artwork that made the social media rounds when technology information and media community The Verge created a take-off at the Magritte portray the usage of the image of a USB, and averring that “it isn’t a pipe” either.