This Shouldn't Need Saying: Threatening To Kill Anyone Over Net Neutrality Is Idiotic

from the bring-back-civility dept

It's indisputable that Ajit Pai's attack on net neutrality was a facts-optional hatchet job of historical proportions. Pai ignored the public, the experts, ethical boundaries, and FCC guidelines as he rushed to give a sloppy wet kiss to some of the most disliked and anti-competitive companies in any American industry. Making matters worse, Pai repeatedly rubbed salt in the wound by behaving like a tone-deaf ass at numerous points during the bizarre and amateurish gambit.

That said, however terrible Ajit Pai has been (and he has been historically terrible), it should go without saying that threatening the FCC boss or his family is both idiotic and counterproductive.

You'll recall that Pai was forced to cancel his appearance at CES back in January due to death threats. And late last week, the Department of Justice announced that it had arrested a 33-year old California man for sending e-mails that threatened both Pai's and his family's lives:

"The first email accused Chairman Pai of being responsible for a child who allegedly had committed suicide because of the repeal of net neutrality regulations. The second email listed three locations in or around Arlington, and threatened to kill the Chairman’s family members. The third email had no message in its body, but included an image depicting Chairman Pai and, in the foreground and slightly out of focus, a framed photograph of Chairman Pai and his family."

The full affadavit offers a little more detail, noting that the FBI didn't have to work very hard to identify the man behind the STUBBLEMANLINESS@GMAIL.COM address, from which the threats were made:

"The next day, on or about December 20, 2017, at approximately 3:47 p.m. EST, an email was sent from STUBBLEMANLINESS@GMAIL.COM to Federal Official 1 's government and personal email addresses. The subject line of the email was "Cheers" and the body of the email listed the names and addresses of three preschools located in or around Arlington, Virginia, followed by the following sentence: "I will find your children and I will kill them."

Again, it really shouldn't need saying that threatening any government official or their family over tech policy (net neutrality or anything else) is obviously utterly terrible, obnoxious and disgusting. It's also utterly counterproductive and self-defeating. In reality, this kind of behavior comprises a tiny, tiny fraction of the massive number of folks angry about the repeal. But Pai's staff has enjoyed singling out and highlighting these folks whenever possible to try and imply that opponents to Pai's ISP-cuddly policies are generally unhinged and unreasonable.

Besides, Pai has made it easy to dismantle his policy positions in an entirely civil manner without resorting to boorish behavior. This is an agency boss who not only turned a blind eye to fraud and identity theft during the public comment period, but also apparently helped make up a DDOS attack just to try and downplay the massive, bipartisan opposition to his policies. Pai doesn't have much of a leg to stand on when it comes to the facts -- so just stick to them.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jul 2018 @ 4:20pm

    How do we know that THESE comments aren't more industry bots like what they did with the comment period. they are proven liars and with what happened during 2016s paid kremlin trolls.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Jul 2018 @ 8:26pm

      Re:

      My guess is Richard Bennett's been hard at work trying to make troll and bot posts legitimate, because only the ideas matter.

      It makes sense - he would be intimate enough with Pai to have a picture of his kids.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jul 2018 @ 4:25pm

    I wonder why

    It's almost as if there are websites that make Net Neutrality out to be something worth killing over.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 3 Jul 2018 @ 4:26pm

    Deaf ears

    As great as it is to remind people about not sending death threats, my guess is the ones doing it aren't in a rational state of mind and won't listen.

    Ashit Pi is an asshole but threatening his children/family is not a way to make a difference.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jul 2018 @ 5:36am

      Re: Deaf ears

      did this piece of shit think something like this wouldn't happen. Fucking over every American internet subscriber does have it's consequences.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Iggy, 3 Jul 2018 @ 6:11pm

    I have a feeling Ajit Pai knew at the start of his chairmanship he'd be getting death threats and was prepared for them. I also have a feeling he knows the "death threats" amount to nothing and he's happy for the sympathy points from the media. I say all this as someone who was once a prolific online troll.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 3 Jul 2018 @ 7:02pm

    Related:

    Tyler Barriss, the shitbag behind the Wichita SWATting murder, claimed that he was the one behind the bomb hoax that disrupted Pai's internet-killing vote.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    carlb, 3 Jul 2018 @ 7:05pm

    preschools?

    Why target preschools? The average preschooler is more likely to play fair than the current FCC, and likely would also behave with more maturity. Credit where credit is due.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TMC, 3 Jul 2018 @ 9:51pm

    Reap what you sow, I guess

    Pretty sure this is Ajit or someone close to him, trying to create sympathy.

    Yeah, that’s what happens when you lie about everything, Ajit. This is no different from the DDOS you lied about. And a vile piece of garbage like you is exactly the kind of person that would implicate the safety of their own family to stifle the speech of people that point out what an idiotic, lying slimeball you are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TMC, 3 Jul 2018 @ 9:53pm

      Re: Reap what you sow, I guess

      ...that was supposed to be about future claims by Ajit. Ugh.

      Now that he’s found a story that works, expect repeat performances.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    is it ajitt?, 3 Jul 2018 @ 9:57pm

    cause he sould die....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Jul 2018 @ 10:14pm

      Response to: is it ajitt? on Jul 3rd, 2018 @ 9:57pm

      Ajit will not die. People like him do not expire in their natural course, but endure. Long after everyone else now living is dead, Ajit will stalk the quiet places of Earth, cemeteries and morgues, late at night, devouring brains as he goes. Fresh and rotting, pickled in formaldehyde, or so long in the ground they resemble crumbling leathery handfruits, Ajit Pai will devour them all, his incisors extending from his undying jaws to eat the organ in two messy bites.

      So threatening to kill him is pointless for purely practical reasons. He cannot die. He shall endure beyond all kin, shall crisp when the Sun goes supernova, and only after the last two neurons of his dissecated, evil brain are wrenched apart in the twilight of the slow billions of years of unfurling universal heat death, shall Ajit Pai cease to be. But fret not, for this eternal fuckstain, this embarrassing product of the human genome, must endure eternity knowing that all he ever was, is, or shall be, will only be Ajit Pai.

      So, reasons not to threaten Ajit Pai: (1) it won’t work, (2) it’s illegal, (3) despite everything he has done to damage the progression of rational policy, it’s still immoral.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Jul 2018 @ 12:11pm

        Re: Response to: is it ajitt? on Jul 3rd, 2018 @ 9:57pm

        So, reasons not to threaten Ajit Pai: (1) it won’t work, (2) it’s illegal, (3) despite everything he has done to damage the progression of rational policy, it’s still immoral.

        Reasons to threaten Ajit Pai:

        (1) It can work and sends a message to his successors not to try the same crap again.

        (2) So are Ajit Pai's actions, that doesn't seem to be stopping him. Rather, he's flaunting it knowing the current administration won't enforce the laws he's broken. So, Rule of Law has already been discarded with the bathwater here.

        (3) The government continues to allow his blatant disregard for his sworn duties and out right handouts to the industry he's supposed to regulate. Actions which are illegal. So given the lack of support / empathy through the normal channels, it shouldn't supprise you that some people are wanting to go through alternate means to deal with the issue. Rationalised society only works with the agreement of all parties. When one side decides to screw over everybody else and refuses to negotiate, the only available options are based on force.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 5 Jul 2018 @ 1:10am

          Re: Re: Response to: is it ajitt? on Jul 3rd, 2018 @ 9:57pm

          Counterpoint:

          1) No, it will never work, and only bolster opposition to the people doing it.

          2) "They're breaking the law too" is never an excuse. If you want the higher ground, you need to occupy it first.

          3) He was installed by Trump, and will likely be removed when a sane and competent administration returns. The trick is to minimise the amount of irreversible damage that he can do in the meantime, and to provide the opposition with the data they need to ensure they can support a quick reversal. Death threats achieve exactly the opposite of this.

          "When one side decides to screw over everybody else and refuses to negotiate, the only available options are based on force."

          Not really. But, even if they were, they would take the form of actual action from an organised opposition, not threats from random individuals. If you think "i'll say I'm going to stalk and kill your children" is a reasonable response to "I refuse to take proper public input about communications regulation", you might have things a little skewed.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Wendy Cockcroft, 5 Jul 2018 @ 5:36am

            Re: Re: Re: Response to: is it ajitt? on Jul 3rd, 2018 @ 9:57pm

            When one side decides to screw over everybody else and refuses to negotiate, the only available options are based on force.

            That is what the courts are for. Use them.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          OldMugwump (profile), 5 Jul 2018 @ 7:10am

          Re: Re: Response to: is it ajitt? on Jul 3rd, 2018 @ 9:57pm

          If your reaction to losing a political battle is to threaten violence (against innocent family members, yet), then you are not part of civilized society.

          We have elections and courts to settle these things peacefully. In every political battle there are losers.

          If the losers refuse to accept the outcome peacefully, they become outlaws and criminals.

          Go lobby. Get the laws changed. Find ways to solve your problems within existing law.

          If you resort to violence, or the threat of violence, you are an enemy of civilization, and far worse than Pai.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 4 Jul 2018 @ 1:41am

    "This Shouldn't Need Saying: Threatening To Kill Anyone... Is Idiotic"

    The same arguments against apply, whatever the claimed reason for the threat. Some may seem a little more justified than this, but it's still a pointless exercise that only gets authorities interested in you - while providing your target with a reasonable argument that they're in the right and the people on the other "side" are unreasonable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jul 2018 @ 1:46am

    "This Shouldn't Need Saying: Threatening To Kill Anyone Over Net Neutrality Is Idiotic"

    I totally agree. I'll kill anyone who threatens to kill someone over something idiotic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 4 Jul 2018 @ 3:52am

    Death threats are stupid regardless of the receiving end ideas. I'd argue it's idiotic to make death threats against neo-nazis that make death threats to drive my point home.

    That said, I can understand the feeling in this specific case and generally in cases involving blatant corruption, cronyism. I mean, the moron is harming everybody without even caring about hiding the obvious telco dick stuck deep into his mouth. If we go a little back in time heads rolled literally in France for quite similar reasons. Sometimes I honestly think a few heads need to roll to remind politicians where the power resides but alas we theoretically are in more evolved times so I can't really advocate for that. Nor I actually would condone such thing even if it comes to mind when frustration hits badly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jul 2018 @ 7:56am

    He should be arrested for possible conspiracy and even treason and THEN IF CONVICTED...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 4 Jul 2018 @ 10:16am

    Re: net neutrality

    по английски пожалуйста!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Iggy, 5 Jul 2018 @ 11:37am

      Re: Re: net neutrality

      нет проблем

      Ok, I think this could have been more careful, its not ok, I think maybe this wasn't the right way to protest, There's no justification to threaten anyone just like there was no justification to give up net neutrality, but we must recognize that president Ajit Pai is mocking Americans imposing unjust policies for the consumer. I just hope when another administration comes in, we go back to net neutrality for all, but without threatening anyone, thats not good, cheers.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Gary Mont, 4 Jul 2018 @ 10:56am

    Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!

    "This is an agency boss who not only turned a blind eye to fraud and identity theft during the public comment period, but also apparently helped make up a DDOS attack just to try and downplay the massive, bipartisan opposition to his policies."

    =======================

    You might also note that somehow, Pai is able to simply give the middle finger to all attempts to investigate his crimes, without the slightest repercussion.

    That's some serious (corporate) protection there. I mean hell, the man is immune to the law and nobody in power seems to mind.

    Good thing there's no such thing as conspiracies huh.

    Otherwise, one might get the notion that there is a concerted corporate effort world-wide, to destroy the internet as a means of anonymous public communications.

    Anyone wanna cover my bet that Pai walks away from this mess unscathed, once the smoke clears and the internet is reduced to a selection of politically-neutered commercial walled-gardens at thrice today's cost to consumers?

    I'd love to see his offshore bank accounts afterwards too. How much would you charge to do Corporate America's fascist dirty work, at this scale? :)

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jul 2018 @ 2:00pm

    Maybe its not the repeal of NN, but rather the bold face lying to the public while lining his pockets.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jul 2018 @ 7:53pm

    Umm ..

    Why is it you feel the need to defend people that are harming people?, are you a cop? please think about what you are doing, you do not have to endorcse peoples calls to defend themselves but you don't have to collaberate, and support there narative, did these emails come to you? no, did they come to people you know? no, yet you feel compeled to speak out in defence of the state, You need to think more clearly about what you are saying since it looks a lot like a you cannot yell fire argument(ie opposing war is treson)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2018 @ 4:21am

    Why not call such behavior "wrong?"

    Techdirt is critical of such "obnoxious," "terrible," and "disgusting" behavior but can't quite seem to call it "wrong."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 5 Jul 2018 @ 5:40am

      Re: Why not call such behavior "wrong?"

      Because all of those words are negative terms that imply wrongness, and only someone desperate to try and attack the site on pointless minutae would even care whether that word was stated or just implied?

      You guys are getting desperate for something to write, aren't you?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    NeghVar (profile), 5 Jul 2018 @ 8:59am

    not supporting him

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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