WASHINGTON – Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai says he has been harassed at his own home and threatened for proposing to repeal the “onerous” Net neutrality rules instituted under Barack Obama.
And now he’s fighting back against the progressive activists, celebrities and tech giants who have been railing against him for speaking out against Internet regulation and censorship.
“I’d like to cut through the hot air and the hysteria,” Pai declared in a speech Tuesday at the office of the conservative-leaning think tank R Street .
Major Internet companies are using government regulation to monopolize the Web, Pai explained.
Top Democrats and celebrities are accusing the Trump administration of trying to limit public access to the Web by eliminating Obama-era rules.
In two weeks, the FCC plans to vote to eliminate #NetNeutrality protections that keep the internet free, fair and open.
Call your Senators and Representatives. Tell them to support net neutrality:
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) November 28, 2017
Hundreds of Oregonians called my office in support of #NetNeutrality last week.
How many called in opposition? Zero.
The Trump administration’s plans to dismantle net neutrality would be a massive blow to Internet users (i.e., you!). We must keep fighting to #SaveNetNeutrality
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) November 27, 2017
But Pai said his plan actually would “expand broadband networks and bring high-speed Internet access to more Americans, not fewer.”
“Given that some of the more eye-catching critiques have come from Hollywood celebrities, whose large online followings give them out-sized influence in shaping the public debate, I thought I’d directly respond to some of their assertions,” he stated. “Perhaps the most common criticism is that ending Title II utility-style regulation will mean the end of the Internet as we know it.
“They might cloak their advocacy in the public interest, but the real interest of these Internet giants is in using the regulatory process to cement their dominance in the Internet economy,” he said. “I don’t blame them for trying. But the government shouldn’t aid and abet this effort.”
The FCC chairman then noted that Twitter is censoring and discriminating against conservatives, referencing when the social media platform prohibited Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., from promoting a campaign tweet that expressed her opposition to abortion.
“Now look: I love Twitter, and I use it all the time. But let’s not kid ourselves; when it comes to an open Internet, Twitter is part of the problem,” he said. “The company has a viewpoint and uses that viewpoint to discriminate.”
Pai then refuted an argument made by actor Kumail Nanjiani in a tweet in which he claimed, “We will never go back to a free Internet” if net neutrality is repealed.
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) November 21, 2017
“Here’s the simple truth: We had a free and open Internet for two decades before 2015, and we’ll have a free and open Internet going forward,” Pai said.
An Internet run by the free market, as it was during the administrations of former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and most of Barack Obama’s tenure, is sufficient, he argued.
“Many critics don’t seem to understand that we are moving from heavy-handed regulation to light-touch regulation, not a completely hands-off approach,” he said. “We aren’t giving anybody a free pass. We are simply shifting from one-size-fits-all pre-emptive regulation to targeted enforcement based on actual market failure or anticompetitive conduct.
“Another concern I’ve heard is that the plan will harm rural and low-income Americans. Cher, for example, tweeted last week that the Internet ‘will include less Americans not more’ if my proposal is adopted,” Pai continued. “But the opposite is true.
“By turning back time, so to speak, and returning Internet regulation to the pre-2015 era, we will expand broadband networks and bring high-speed Internet access to more Americans, not fewer.”
Net Neutrality means
Trump can Change The
Internet It Will Include LESS AMERICANS NOT MORE
Will show you ONLY WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO SEE SLOWER AND MORE EXPENSIVE AT THEIR WHIMSEE LESS,CHARGED MORE…
— Cher (@cher) November 22, 2017
Net neutrality mandates that Internet service providers comply with a uniform set of rules to treat all Internet traffic and data equally and prohibit ISPs from discriminating against certain forms of traffic.
Under the regulations, ISPs cannot speed up content to higher-paying customers, block content nor offer special deals and promotions.
Netflix can’t get an advantage over Hulu by paying ISPs to stream their videos at a faster rate.
The neutrality provisions also prevent ISPs from breaking up the Internet into packages, like cable providers do with television.
The FCC used the Title II of the Communications Act of 1943 as a basis for enacting the Open Internet Order of 2015, which established net neutrality rules for ISPs.
Robert McChesney of the University of Illinois, a socialist professor, is the architect of the net neutrality.
The liberal organizer made clear in an 2009 interview with the website SocialistProject that he wanted government control of the Internet to kill online “capitalist” advertising and to promote “socialist principles.”
“At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies, but the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control,” McChesney told the publication then.
Soros and the Ford Foundation have reportedly donated $196 million to advocacy groups supporting the retention of net neutrality.
Pai, who was designated FCC chairman by President Donald Trump in January, launched his campaign to undo the Obama-era “regulations from the Great Depression” in April, arguing ISPs were subject to the the strictest-ever oversight of the agency under the legal structure.
“Going forward, we cannot stick with regulations from the Great Depression that were meant to micromanage Ma Bell,” Pai explained. “Nothing about the Internet was broken in 2015.”
Antifa responded to Pai’s plan by protesting outside the FCC headquarters in Washington, D.C., demanding a “free and open Internet,” while demanding the FCC “Ban Drudge” and conservative-leaning news outlets.
Pai revealed his plan to roll back net neutrality Wednesday, explaining the FCC will vote Dec. 14 to end Title II regulation of the Internet.
Soro-funded groups immediately launched a scare campaign against the FCC chair and the agency. Color of Change, which bills itself as “the nation’s largest online racial justice organization,” has claimed Pai’s actions are racist.
“Chairman Pai’s plan to gut the FCC’s net neutrality rules will devastate black communities,” Color of Change claims on its website.
“Net neutrality is essential to protecting our free and open Internet, which has been crucial to today’s fights for civil rights and equality. Our ability to have our voices heard in this democracy depends on an open Internet because it allows voices and ideas to spread based on substance, rather than financial backing. Net neutrality ensures that the Internet is a place for innovation and opportunity for all, rather than just the wealthy few.”
Pai, however, said, Internet regulation activists “have crossed the line by threatening and harassing my family.’
“They should leave my family out of this and focus on debating the merits of the issue.”
He explained those who oppose him politically are protesting and harassing him at home, placing threatening signs on his lawn.
“They will come to know the truth. Dad murdered democracy in cold blood,” one sign read.
I have a friend that lives near @AjitPaiFCC. Net neutrality “activists” posted these signs, featuring his children’s names, outside his house. Pizzas also reportedly sent to his house every half-hour last night. pic.twitter.com/jWI4gV6Hvc
— Brendan Bordelon (@BrendanBordelon) November 25, 2017
The attacks were “a little nerve-racking, especially for my wife who’s not involved in this space,” Pai told Fox News Monday. “All we are simply doing is putting engineers and entrepreneurs, instead of bureaucrats and lawyers, in charge of the Internet.”