Ajit Pai, named the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission by President Donald Trump yesterday, is likely to seek changes to the organization's stance on Net Neutrality. Pai was one of two commissioners to vote against the FCC's 3-2 approval of the Open Internet Order in early 2015.
Net Neutrality, which prohibits Internet service providers from giving paid prioritization to some online content, has long been opposed by conservatives and Internet industry organizations. After the FCC's decision two years ago, Pai criticized the Open Internet Order for imposing "intrusive government regulations that won't work to solve a problem that doesn't exist using legal authority the FCC doesn't have."
With Pai now leading the FCC and Trump in the White House, Net Neutrality appears certain to come under attack. Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have also criticized the policy; Pence in 2011 co-sponsored unsuccessful legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would have blocked the FCC from enacting any regulations affecting Internet services.
Pai: 'Fire Up the Weed Whacker'
In a brief statement released after he was named FCC chairman yesterday, Pai said he looked forward to bringing "the benefits of the digital age to all Americans." On his first day heading the agency, Pai today also named legal advisor Brendan Carr as the commission's new acting general counsel.
Speaking in Brussels in 2015, Carr said the FCC's Net Neutrality order represented a "dramatic turn towards heavy-handed regulation of the Internet."
Last month, Pai also took aim at the Open Internet order in a speech he gave for the conservative Free State Foundation's 10th anniversary.
"I'm optimistic that last month's election will prove to be an inflection point -- and that during the Trump Administration, we will shift from playing defense at the FCC to going on offense," Pai said during the anniversary luncheon. "We need to fire up the weed whacker and remove those rules that are holding back investment, innovation, and job creation."
EFF: 'Prepared to Fight'
A number of legal challenges were launched in court following the FCC's vote on Net Neutrality. Last June, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the commission's order in a case filed by the U.S. Telecom Association.
While then-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler called that court decision "a victory for consumers and innovators who deserve unfettered access to the entire web," Pai said he was "deeply disappointed" by the 2-1 ruling.
"I continue to believe that these regulations are unlawful, and I hope that the parties challenging them will continue the legal fight," Pai said in a June. 14 statement. "The FCC's regulations are unnecessary and counterproductive."
In a 100-day plan outlined last week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital civil rights organization, said it is plans to fight any efforts to reverse the FCC's Net Neutrality order.
"There's ample reason to believe that Mr. Trump and his appointees, backed by members of Congress, will attempt to dismantle hard-fought net neutrality victories," the EFF stated. "We are prepared to fight efforts to undo the Open Internet Order and allow cable and telephone companies to dictate the future of the Internet."
Posted: 2017-01-27 @ 4:09am PT
Money grabbing people will do their best to demonise something wholly fair to the general public. It's only natural.