On February 1, 2019, the Washington DC Circuit Court of Appeals heard what is taken into consideration the most important prison case inside the history of the net. Its outcome, predicted someday this summertime, will without delay impact the glide of facts and ultimately loose 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 gives 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, our preferences and our decisions, whether political or not.
Consequently, internet neutrality is critical to unfastened speech and democracy itself. Since the principle of net neutrality 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.
At the heart of this crucial criminal conflict is Pantelis Michalopoulos, one of u. S .’s pinnacle telecommunications lawyers. 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 companion Markham Erickson and their group, consisting of any other Greek, Georgios Lewis, they have got taken on the powerful gatekeepers. Among others, those consist of AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast, that are combating against internet neutrality for financial benefit, if not for manipulate of 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 real and sensible results. It can make or break corporations and have unfavorable outcomes on numerous fronts, which include 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 which 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 at the conduct of net provider carriers – giants along with AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon. The restrictions were then contested and “ping-ponged” twice between the FCC and the DC Circuit Court, which 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 net get right of entry to need to be considered a facts service as opposed to a telecommunications provider and consequently can’t be regulated. The ping-pong suit persevered with the web enterprise, which depends at the carrier carriers forget right of entry to to the pipes, though the FCC’s movement within the equal Court.
This set the level for the aforementioned February 1, 2019, oral argument, described with the aid of one reporter as an “epic battle.” Michalopoulos has argued in choose of 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 Blackpeat.
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 became 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 of 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 own 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.