FCC chair pulled out of trade show after death threats

Posted January 05, 2018

We're referring to the fact that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman, Ajit Pai, who was supposed to appear on a discussion panel, won't be there. The ruling could make it hard for the FCC to repeal the net neutrality rules, and public interest groups are expected to challenge the move in court.

The sources didn't make public details about the threats, but they told Recode that "federal law enforcement had intervened in the matter".

In November, federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against a Syracuse man for allegedly threatening to kill a NY member of Congress unless he backed net neutrality.

Pai has not yet publicly given a reason for his decision, but some press reports attribute his decision to security considerations.

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Pai was scheduled to sit down Tuesday with the head of the Federal Trade Commission, fellow Republican Maureen Ohlhausen, as part of a conversation moderated by Consumer Technology Association President Gary Shapiro. Ohlhausen is still scheduled to attend the event.

Now, Pai and his office, according to Recode, apparently feel he should abandon his plans to attend CES, the global Consumer Electronics Show, due to violent threats.

It's not the first threat the chairman has faced in recent months.

Jeremy Kaplan, editor-in-chief on Digital Trends, guessed that Pai cancelled because "he realized that the tech industry kinda despises him".

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The FCC two weeks ago voted 3-2 to repeal the Obama-era network neutrality rules that prevented internet providers from blocking or throttling access to websites or charging websites to access users at faster speeds.

This isn't the first time FCC officials have received threats related to the move.

We've reached out to the FCC for comment on why its chairman was not available.

FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny, who has voiced opposition to repealing net neutrality, tweeted Thursday that it was "unacceptable" to threaten a public servant due to their views.

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