Ajit Pai Won’t Destroy the Internet Without a Fight

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I don’t like Ajit Pai. I’ve never met him. He might be an alright guy to watch an NBA playoff game with, or maybe play a round of golf. All I know of Ajit Pai is his public persona as a commissioner, and now Chairman of the FCC–and that Ajit Pai is equal parts moron and corporate shill. As FCC Chairman, Pai’s entire agenda seems to revolve around reversing all progress made in recent years, and selling out the internet to the highest bidder–or possibly to whoever has promised him the most lucrative position after he leaves the FCC.

I’m old enough to remember the struggle—the epic battle for net neutrality as millions of Americans came together to defend the open internet. Apparently that was just the first round, though. Net neutrality—and just about every other good and/or logical thing the FCC accomplished in the last decade—are being quickly unraveled by the new FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai.

Despite a lot of rhetoric coming from Ajit Pai and the FCC, the reality is that an overwhelming majority of people support the direction the FCC was heading under the previous leadership, and are prepared to rally again to defend the internet from corporate greed. Following a scathing segment from John Oliver on his show This Week Tonight, the FCC website was crushed with traffic from citizens trying to voice their objection to Pai’s efforts.

The FCC claimed that it was the target of a DDoS attack. There appears to be some evidence to back that up, although the motive of such an attack is still in question. Regardless of whether there was any DDoS “attack” or not, it is true that the FCC servers couldn’t handle the surge in demand. What the FCC DDoS story misses, though, is that much—if not most—of the traffic was legitimate traffic from concerned internet users voicing anger over the Ajit Pai’s effort to reverse net neutrality.

Fight for the Future issued a statement calling for an investigation into the alleged DDoS attack, and making a claim that fraudulent comments were made in support of Ajit Pai that used stolen names and addresses. “If this FCC has any legitimacy, it simply cannot move forward until an investigation has been conducted. We need to know who is doing this, if Ajit Pai or other FCC officials knew that it was happening, and whether any of this illegal activity has been funded by companies like Comcast and Verizon who have a long history of financing astroturf groups. State Attorneys General should immediate investigate whether people in their state were affected by this, and the FCC should immediately release any and all information that it has about who is submitting these fake comments.”

The FCC is not cooperating with any such investigation. It is refusing to share any log data to verify whether any DDoS attack occurred, and appears to be ignoring claims of fraudulent comments despite calls from senators looking for an explanation from the FCC.

Ajit Pai issued a statement explaining his justification for his “Restoring Internet Freedom” plan. He stated, “For nearly two decades, the Internet flourished under a bipartisan, light-touch regulatory framework. In the span of recent memory, the Internet went from a university research project to an essential tool for participating in the modern world.”

Pai goes on to say, “And so it would remain for almost two decades. Under this light-touch approach, the private sector invested in networks to the tune of $1.5 trillion. Internet speeds accelerated from kilobits to gigabits per second. Mobile connectivity expanded from 1G to 2G to 3G to 4G. And an entire Internet economy sprung up to develop applications riding on those networks. Online companies like Google, Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon grew from scratch to become global powerhouses. In sum, we had a free and open Internet—one in which consumers reaped immense benefits.”

Pai misses a couple of very relevant points in his rhetoric. First, he claims the FCC push for net neutrality was driven by the Obama White House, which ignores the fact that millions of citizens flooded the FCC with comments in favor of the net neutrality framework. Second, his idyllic summary of the thriving internet fails to note the fact that unethical actions by Comcast and other major internet service providers are what sparked the push for net neutrality. It didn’t happen in a vacuum. It happened because the very things that Pai and the ISPs want to assure us won’t happen were precisely the things that were already happening.

Read the full story on Forbes: Net Neutrality Proponents Gear Up For New Fight Against Ajit Pai.

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About Author

I have a passion for technology and gadgets--with a focus on Microsoft and security--and a desire to help others understand how technology can affect or improve their lives. I also love spending time with my wife, 7 kids, 3 dogs, 4 cats, 3 rabbits, 2 ferrets, pot-bellied pig and sulcata tortoise, and I like to think I enjoy reading and golf even though I never find time for either. You can contact me directly at tony@xpective.net. For more from me, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.