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NEWSFLASH: Need-to-Know Stories 1/12 - 1/18


This week, a federal court ruled against an FCC initiative that sought to provide Internet users with equal access to all websites and services, threatening the country's "net neutrality." On the same day, a 12-year-old middle school student in New Mexico was taken into custody after seriously wounding two students in a school shooting.

Welcome back to NEWSFLASH, giving you the week's biggest stories!

Federal Court Sweeps Aside Net Neutrality Ruling

On Tuesday, a federal appeals court overturned a government ruling to ensure net neutrality for all Internet users on all Internet providers. 

With Tuesday's new ruling, Internet providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T could impede their subscribers from accessing certain Internet service providers' products. This would be done by charging companies such as Netflix and YouTube more money for delivering their services to users without exceeding data limits, an initiative AT&T has already proposed in a Sponsored Data plan. Other ways of threatening equal web access include redirecting traffic toward or away from other sites, such as when Comcast purposely slowed down BitTorrent after the torrenting site was "hogging its pipes."

The court's ruling essentially overturned one established in 2010 led by the Federal Communications Commission. The 2010 ruling urged Internet providers to treat all Internet traffic, both by phone and by computer, as part of the same Internet category. Verizon sued on the grounds that Internet access on both could not be treated similarly, leading the federal court to overrule the FCC's 2010 efforts.

Experts are worried that by threatening net neutrality, the federal court is allowing the dominance of Internet giants such as Google to persist and block out other potential contenders. The new ruling could also create an unlevel field for consumers vying for Internet services as some users could access certain sites more easily than others.

12-Year-Old Boy Seriously Wounds Two In Middle School Shooting

A 12-year-old boy in New Mexico was taken into custody after firing on his fellow students in a school gymnasium before a teacher persuaded him to disarm.

The shooting took place Berrendo Middle School in Roswell on Tuesday morning. Two students, an 11-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl, were seriously wounded in the encounter. The girl is now in stable condition while the boy, who was hit in his face and neck, is still listed as being in critical condition.

An eighth grade social studies teacher identified as John Masterson eventually talked the boy into dropping his gun before pinning him to a wall.

Police have determined that the boy planned the attack, though his motive is still unknown. The boy faces three counts of aggravated battery.

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