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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Criticizes Companies That Oppose His Efforts To Repeal Net Neutrality Rules ( 349

Tony Romm, writing for Recode: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai thinks everyone from Cher to Twitter has it wrong when they say that his efforts to roll back the U.S. government's existing net neutrality rules will spell the death of the web. Instead, Pai said during an event in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday that tech giants could pose the greatest threat by discriminating against viewpoints on the internet. "They might cloak their advocacy in the public interest," he said, "but the real interest of these internet giants is in using the regulatory process to cement their dominance in the internet economy." The surprising rebuke came as Pai forged ahead with his plan to end the net neutrality protections adopted by the Federal Communications Commission under former President Barack Obama. Those rules subject broadband providers like AT&T, Charter, Comcast and Verizon to utility-style regulation, all in a bid to stop them from blocking access to web pages, slowing down connections or prioritizing some content over others. [...] He didn't spare tech companies from that criticism, either. Companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter -- speaking through their main Washington, D.C.-based trade group, the Internet Association -- have urged Pai to stand down. In response, Pai sought to make an example of Twitter. He specifically raised the fact that the company at one point prevented a Republican congresswoman from promoting a tweet about abortion, only to change its mind amid a public backlash. "Now look: I love Twitter," Pai began. "But let's not kid ourselves; when it comes to a free and open Internet, Twitter is a part of the problem. The company has a viewpoint and uses that viewpoint to discriminate."
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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Criticizes Companies That Oppose His Efforts To Repeal Net Neutrality Rules

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  • Those are not the same things.

    • I was about post ask asking what one has to do with the other...

      I do believe it's an intentional redirect. Or maybe he is hinting that conservatives and republicans are being discriminated against by "liberal" internet media companies so this is pay back. That they don't pay any attention to the needs of such companies.

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      Well, apparently he doesn't understand Free Speech.

      I mean, corporations are supposed to be people, right? These corporations are just exercising their right to Free Speech in publicly opposing his Net Neutrality repeal, and he's complaining about it.

    • by MTEK ( 2826397 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @04:33PM (#55638475)

      He's not confusing anything. He's intentionally trying to mislead and distract.

    • The theater play is for the republican base. He almost certainly does know this is not about free speech, but about money. But he is a (ex verizon) lawyer foremost , and he is spinning and selling a tale to the prole, not to the techie and firms.
    • Truth: Companies may have, or be perceived as having, biases on various social and political issues. This is true for everyone from Facebook to Fox Entertainment Group to Chick-fil-A.

      Truth: This has fuckall to do with rolling back net neutrality.
    • moves the conversation to a broader scope, and then someone chimes in with a detailed critique of how the conversation no longer is about the smaller issue, so the speaker is obviously "wrong"?

    • by haruchai ( 17472 )

      he's not *confusing*, he's *conflating* those things & quite deliberately.

  • Malevolence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nightfire-unique ( 253895 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @04:13PM (#55638269)

    Let this be a lesson.

    He's not some old guy who misunderstands technology, and he's not dumb.

    This is an act of malevolence.

    • Let this be a lesson.

      He's not some old guy who misunderstands technology, and he's not dumb.

      This is an act of malevolence.

      Seems to be a theme within the current Administration.

    • Cheating the rules (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @04:48PM (#55638623) Homepage Journal

      Let this be a lesson.

      He's not some old guy who misunderstands technology, and he's not dumb.

      This is an act of malevolence.

      Congress mandated that the internet be not be regulated. (1996, Telecommunications act)
      FCC tries to regulate the internet (2008-ish)
      FCC gets shot down by courts, FCC doesn't have authority to regulate internet (2010)
      FCC rebrands ISPs under Title II, then asserts right to regulate. (2015)
      FCC changes course, in line with Congress's instructions (2017)

      It's interesting how much cheating goes on in the political arena. It seems OK to skirt the rules so long as it gets you what you want, most of the time the cheating is bad in the grand scheme of things but hey... that one polarizing issue got fixed, right?

      Now your chickens have come home to roost, because that one good idea you had has to be dumped because you got it by cheating. "Cheating" here is when a federal government overreaches their authority, and goes against Congress's clear directions.

      That's bad. That's something that you *do not* want to set a precedent for. That's something that really should be killed with fire, or nuked from orbit.

      The *right way* is to get regulation through congress.

      What - your congresscritter doesn't listen to you? That's not an excuse for cheating.

      What - you can't convince enough other people to make this issue important? That's not an excuse for cheating.

      Both of those previous statements are reasons for NOT cheating. Cheating inevitably leads to overreach and misapplication. If it's OK to do it in this one instance, then it's OK in all the other instances.

      It's the "rule of man" [] instead of the "rule of law". It *seems* great in the narrow view of this one issue, but on balance it leads to complete and total corruption.

      Fix it the right way, don't let this one good idea get lost because you couldn't follow the rules.

      • I've never heard this perspective before. Interesting.
      • Regulating ISPs != Regulating the internet
      • The *right way* is to get regulation through congress.

        That is not how it works. Congress passes laws and federal agencies, like the FCC, create regulations to implement those laws.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You fail to mention that up until 2003, cable was Title II. DSL was changed in 2005 after a court ruled the FCC had the authority to make the transition on cable. The 2015 order was returning things to the way they were before since the ISPs had proven they could not be trusted to uphold net-neutrality voluntarily.

      • by dywolf ( 2673597 )


  • by Green Mountain Bot ( 4981769 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @04:14PM (#55638285)
    So, Twitter is bad because they sometimes block content on their platform, and the solution is to allow the ISPs to block content on their pipes?
    • Ya, his use of logical fallacies is off the charts. This is a major red herring. Free speech on the Internet is an issue but the solution is to apply net neutrality to social media as well, not to get rid of net neutrality altogether.
      • by thaylin ( 555395 )

        The problem is twitter is a message board, they can regulate that board as they see fit, especially when free, but pipes are not the same thing. I dont pay TWC to access only the internet content that they want me to see, typically only their other paid content.

        • If only 5 companies control 99% of social media and one of those companies is also the provider of most of the hosting on the Internet, how much will it matter if you can access any site if all the other sites are irrelevant and attract no users. As an example, Gab was basically extorted by Google for not banning more people. []
    • There's a third factor you're not considering here though and that's Verizon money.
    • Yes, you got it right. He's not making a consistent argument; he's trying to poison the well.

      I support Net Neutrality []--its one of the few simple and obvious issues out there--and would introduce a bill charging the FCC with regulating the Internet to ensure equal treatment of access to all services from any given customer, save for configuration to prioritize (not accelerate) time-sensitive traffic (streaming, voice) and de-prioritize (not throttle) non-sensitive bulk traffic.

      There are technical detail

    • Inconsistent reasoning is an epidemic among lobbyists, shills, and captured regulatory authorities.

  • By definition. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Walter White ( 1573805 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @04:17PM (#55638309)

    Ajit Pai is a tool.

  • by mi ( 197448 ) <> on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @04:18PM (#55638313) Homepage Journal

    All I know about Net Neutrality I learned from Cher and other entertainers via Twitter. And I am outraged.

  • "But let's not kid ourselves; when it comes to a free and open Internet, Twitter is a part of the problem. The company has a viewpoint and uses that viewpoint to discriminate."

    If Twitter is part of the problem, is he seriously suggesting that government insert itself further into the process to regulate them? Doesn't this statement contradict the goals of his effort to get rid of NN?

    And how does a free and open Internet have anything to do with Twitter discriminating (or not)? Perhaps Pai should promot

  • I agree with him that poorly phrased net neutrality laws prevent competition. Competition is what will truly keep the internet open and free. Look at T-Mobile and Sprint in the cell phone market. The government motives change and swing, and many of up have no idea what they are. Business? I know what they want, my money. They will do what they need to to make sure they get it. Instead of fighting for net neutrality, we should be encouraging competition, co-ops, open pole access, etc. The cost to market but
    • by mcmonkey ( 96054 )

      No, he doesn't. And no, it won't.

      If the answer is competition, then why support the change that is guaranteed to reduce competition?

    • I can agree with Pai in this line of thought. Net Neutrality, as written, may be impeding competition and keeping prices artificially high. Pai has also openly said he wants to prevent municipal broadband by removing state's ability to create their own laws.

      I could back him if he was actively encouraging competition, be it by placing ISPs into common carrier status, or treating internet infrastructure as a utility - like municipal broadband or competitive contracts like your local power company(ies)

  • What he says is true but not the point. Maybe he should fix that too.
    Simply giving the power to the ISPs to do the same is certainly not going to help...
    The big difference to me is that while I depend on Google and other big tech services, I am not obligated to use them and if I wanted to, there are alternatives or I could simply stop using them (like I have done with my cable TV provider). However, I have only one ISP in my area (at least only one that has more than 3Mb/s data transfer rate) so I have no
    • by Strider- ( 39683 )

      The only real solution, which will never happen, is to force a full separation of service and content. This should apply to both Internet service, and video/TV services.

  • Rather than state as his solution that having more and innovative options to twitter to support more view points, as Net Neutrality supports, he just said what about something unrelated. Classic way to deflect those without critical reasoning skills. Personally, I've offended by such tactics. Just be honest, that you believe consolidation of media into the hands of a very few oligarchs for their enrichment and consolidation of power is what you are proposing and be intellectually honest.
  • Twitter did a thing, and they're in favor of NN, therefore [] ISPs should control which sites you can visit. It's an airtight argument.
  • On his show yesterday, Limbaugh was trying to make the case that NN is a thinly-veiled attempt to use the government to force Netflix to promote Global Warning.(!) I'm serious - this is how delusional these idiots are! We are truly doomed.
  • ...maybe it's time to step back and reconsider who the idiot might really be.
  • On the surface it seems really simple just to say 'Net Neutrality is obviously good because reasons', and I agree with most of the reasons I have found.

    But I look a step or 2 deeper and there does appear to be some legitimate questions about competition and internet nuts and bolts type stuff that we may all take for granted. []

    Maybe there are some people here who can give some insight or add some nuance to the 'underbelly' of the Net Neutrality question.

Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.