FCC chair intends to move forward to ‘clarify’ tech’s legal liability shield
Jeffrey Westling, a resident fellow for technology and innovation who focuses on online content policy at free-market policy think tank R Street Institute, said in an email that the timing around the process to take action on the petition could inhibit substantive action if the FCC does not already have a notice of proposed rulemaking already drafted and ready for use.
“At this point it sounds like the Chairman is only proceeding with a notice of proposed rulemaking, meaning the document that the Commission produces will lay out some proposed changes and invite the public to submit comments on those proposals. … Due to the lengthy process of these types of proceedings, we will likely not see any action on an actual order at least well into next year,” he said. “By that time, the priorities and make-up of the FCC could be very different,” he added.
Westling also questioned whether the commission would have the votes to support the item.
“At the same time, I am not sure that the Chairman will have the necessary votes to quickly proceed with an NPRM. It appears that the White House pulled Commissioner [Michael] O’Rielly’s renomination because he made his stance on the issue well known, so I suspect he will not vote in favor of the NPRM,” he added.
Westling noted that with two Democratic commissioners likely opposing a notice of proposed rulemaking, it is likely that Congress will need to approve O’Rielly’s replacement before any action can be taken if Pai wants to proceed with an NPRM.