FCC's Ajit Pai: By Making Sure The Internet Is Open And Free... It Will Inspire North Korea And Cuba To Censor

from the say-what-now? dept

I should note, upfront, that I've had the chance to meet FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai a couple of times, and always found him to be interesting and knowledgeable, as well as engaged on important issues. Yet, for whatever reason, when it comes to net neutrality issues, the former Verizon lawyer (clue number 1) seems to have gone off the deep end, tossed all logic and intellectual honesty out the window, in an effort to just lash out angrily with whatever he's got. We've talked about his incoherent attack on Netflix and his sudden and newfound love of transparency (never noted before...).

But his latest move just strips whatever credibility he may have had on the subject completely away. He's insisting that the FCC's new net neutrality rules (which he opposes) will inspire North Korea and Iran to further control and censor the internet (which they already control and heavily censor). And he's not arguing this in a "they hate us for our freedom" way, but he's actively lying and claiming that this move -- a move to guarantee openness and not censorship online -- will give the North Korean and Iranian governments the political cover to censor the internet. Let's be frank, Pai's statements are complete nonsense.
“If in the United States we adopt regulations that assert more government control over how the Internet operates ... it becomes a lot more difficult for us to go on the international stage and tell governments: ‘Look, we want you to keep your hands off the internet,’” he said.

“Even if the ideas aren’t completely identical, you can appreciate the optical difficult in trying to make that case," he added.
Except, uh, the "rules" being described are ones that just say "the internet needs to be open and free from interference, censorship and discrimination." I don't see how anyone could legitimately claim this will somehow undermine a message of internet freedom. But watch Pai work himself up into a moral panic over a complete misrepresentation of what's happening:
In the background, meanwhile, countries such as North Korea and Cuba are trying to exact more control of the Internet through an arm of the United Nations called the International Telecommunication Union, he warned.

Nations such as Turkey and China are also enacting new controls in their own countries and “testing the waters to see how much they can get away with,” Pai said.

“I think the U.S.-based system of Internet governance has served us very well and I hope we don’t do anything to jeopardize that in the near future.”
He's right that there are questions about internet governance -- and we've covered the various discussions on that for a while now. But the FCC's rules to protect an open and free internet is not about "internet governance" or Cuba or North Korea censoring the internet at all. It takes a special kind of desperation to try to argue that preserving an open and free internet is actually about telling oppressive authoritarian regimes that it's okay to censor and lock down the internet. No one believes it at all, and it just takes away whatever credibility Pai may have had on the subject.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2015 @ 1:40pm

    This guy. This guy has voting power at the FCC. God, help us.

    I refuse to label myself as a Democrat or Republican because both represent aspects of government that I despise, however if I was ever forced to choose one, this guy would make it an easy call.

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

    • icon
      leehb9 (profile), 13 Feb 2015 @ 7:03am

      Re: God help us....

      From the 'Don't-cha-know' department: The first and most important quality for a government employee is to be totally 'clueless' about everything.

      Anyone with any real brains would be a direct threat to his/her fellow employees and most especially to the management staff. Thus, we get guys like the moron in this article..

      And regarding the subject of this reply, we're beyond his/her help now.

      'Help me, Obiwan Kenobi...'

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2015 @ 1:43pm

    Pot, meet kettle

    I find it disturbing that he criticizes Cuba, China, & North Korea for not having a free and open Internet, while his own country scoops up all communications by default, in case of insert boogeyman of the day here

    Commissioner Pai should ask himself: Is a "free and open Internet" one where the government has access to all the information that crosses it?
    Because I for one, do not see that as free, nor open.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2015 @ 1:54pm

      Re: Pot, meet kettle

      The FCC has nothing to do with the DoJ/DoD, et al tapping lines and hacking people. While I'll agree it's a big bulls eye on the US, it's not exactly anything the FCC would have control over.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2015 @ 1:46pm

    ...blah blah optical difficult blah blah...
    Is this man on drugs?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2015 @ 2:07pm

      Re:

      No, he just knows where his future income is coming from.

      There's a reasonw hy I refer to him as Idiot Paid.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2015 @ 11:48pm

      Re:

      When someone uses the word "optics" to mean appearance, it's best to maximize your temporal utility by leveraging the geo-spatial functionality of your feet.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2015 @ 1:47pm

    Says the government who already massively spies on the entire internet. The US already has the most oppressive system of mass surveillance in place on the entire planet.

    Pai would say anything at this point. Keeping the internet free is not comparable to Chinese censorship in any reality.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Feb 2015 @ 10:16am

      Re:

      It's complete surveillance, but at least you can do anything (legal) under it! Is this what Obama et al are trying to tell you guys all along?

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

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 13 Feb 2015 @ 2:29pm

        Re: Re:

        I'm sure that's exactly how they're thinking, but they're simply wrong. It's hard to be free when you're constantly looking over your shoulder.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2015 @ 1:53pm

    There would have been no issue with Title II coming up at the FCC except for one little item. Verizon decided to take the FCC to court over the idea it did not have a mandate from congress to enforce net neutrality. It won it's case.

    So the FCC will now look to implement Title II as a way to enforce net neutrality where it does have a mandate. This became necessary when the major telcoms started a 'nice business you have there Netflix' of wanting Neftlix to pay for what those telcoms had already been paid for by it's customers. This happened within a week of Verizon winning it's court case.

    The telcoms have no reason to bitch, having brought this on themselves. Commissioner Pai has lost before he's started on this one as the actions and evidence speaks for itself on what will happen without Title II.

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

  • icon
    Nastybutler77 (profile), 12 Feb 2015 @ 1:57pm

    Ajit? More like Idjit, amirite?

    Funny how he fails to mention the fact America has lost its moral high ground because of the NSA/CIA's actions.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2015 @ 2:24pm

    Who you calling a Dummy, dummy?

    The only flaw to this puppets plan is that he isn't quite close enough to retirement if misses his place in line at the revolving door.

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

  • icon
    gorehound (profile), 12 Feb 2015 @ 2:38pm

    Republicans are Slimeballs

    This man is a Republican and he is a slimeball like the rest of them.
    GOP are full of hateful people, greedbags like Pai, bigots, Jesus Freaks, control freaks.............sick and tired of this Party.The Day it dies I will celebrate.Every day of the week I can easily find at least 3 News pieces on the doing something really hateful towards others.For years now this has gone on..............the old Republican Party is long dead and the new one is full of extremists who ram thru their views on the rest of us.

    Most Dems support Net Neutrality...a few of them won't and will take the money.
    Most GOP support creating a toll road and fleecing the public...and if it happens this is going to be exported to the greater World .I can see the rest of the World forced into a toll road as well.
    Obama is a Dem and he went out to state his position on Net Neutrality....the GOP do the opposite.

    And then you got the assholes like CRUZ who says it is like Obamacare for the Net and we all know the brain dead GOP followers lap that stuff right up (of course they do not understand how to even look at Win Explorer) .

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2015 @ 3:40pm

      Re: Republicans are Slimeballs

      Actually most Republican voters support Net Neutrality when asked. Their representitives however support whatever ISPs tell them to support.

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

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 13 Feb 2015 @ 11:14am

        Re: Re: Republicans are Slimeballs

        Actually most Republican voters support Net Neutrality when asked.

        When asked properly, anyway. If you ask them "do you support the FCC regulating ISPs under Title II" you'll probably get a lot of no's. If you ask "do you support regulation requiring ISPs to treat all internet traffic equally", that's probably what they would answer yes to. I don't actually have any data, I'm just speaking from general knowledge of how the phrasing of survey questions affects the outcome. If anyone has links to specifics, let's check it out.

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 13 Feb 2015 @ 2:31pm

      Re: Republicans are Slimeballs

      Again, this is not really a partisan issue no matter how hard the parties are trying to make it one.

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

  • icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 12 Feb 2015 @ 3:34pm

    Well, he's kinda right. Title II will inspire North Korea and other dictatorship countries to censor harder.

    A free and open Internet will put more and more information out there. More information might inspire citizens of not so free countries to desire some of that freedom. Citizens who want freedom are the bane of totalitarians, thus they will censor.

    But something that pisses off totalitarians and inspires citizens of totalitarian governments is a good thing, isn't it?

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

  • identicon
    TMC, 12 Feb 2015 @ 6:41pm

    Ajit Pai is the true dingo

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 12 Feb 2015 @ 8:38pm

    Yesss, let the crazy flow through you

    Man, unless he's usually this nuts, the cable companies have got to be cracking the whip hard over this guy's head for something this insane to come out of his mouth, with threats of losing his cushy 'retirement' offers if he doesn't succeed in getting Title II killed.

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 13 Feb 2015 @ 1:46am

    Yes and Obamacare will kill millions with ebola. Political common sense.

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

  • icon
    Tazinator (profile), 13 Feb 2015 @ 1:51am

    Can see what his attempted argument is but it fails badly...

    I can see what he is trying to say, that essentially if we put the companies that control net access under US government regulation that the oppressive countries which...already do censor their connections to their citizens will then have the ability to claim "We're doing this because the US Govt controls the Internet!"

    Problem 1:

    He is throwing out how the Internet actually functions. If you disconnected the US from the rest of the net (which sadly some a-holes in DC attempted to do with SOPA and CISPA effectively creating a "Great Firewall" to control piracy...), the Internet would still exist and function albeit smaller and with a lot less websites. The whole concept and design of it negates any one country from controlling the entirety of it.

    Problem 2:

    On the front of country dictators having more excuses with Title II classification; that would be hypocritical for the simple fact that the ISPs of those nations are STATE OWNED AND REGULATED themselves. How can one say that "well the Internet is now in control of a government so we need to censor it" when their own governments control citizen access already.

    Problem 3:

    Oppressive countries already use the excuse that the US influences the net and thats why they regulate the access of their populations. Title II is going to do nothing to solidify that claim because ISPs are already government regulated (...though very lightly and with much favoritism thanks to the best lobbyists money can buy and the nonsense "Information Service" classification...).


    All in all though his whole rambling nonsense ignores the fact that dictators will find an excuse to censor their people from the online world regardless of whatever we do to regulate ISPs. That is why they are dictators.

    It really is an act of desperation to use this far reaching attempt at justification because it has absolutely no merit. It's disgusting to see what a mess agencies which were designed to work for the people have become thanks to lobbyist and friendship appointments by politicians. Holding an appointment at an agency that is set to regulate and watchdog an industry you once lobbied for should be an automatic disqualification, no exceptions. Since it isn't, we get idiots like this guy...

    He does score points on how many logical fallacies he can shove into one statement:

    https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/false-cause
    https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/appeal-to-emo tion
    https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/personal-incredulity
    even a little bit of https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/slippery-slope in there I think

    Probably a few more can be pulled from his words too, but Im bored now...

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

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 13 Feb 2015 @ 11:18am

      Re: Can see what his attempted argument is but it fails badly...

      I can see what he is trying to say, that essentially if we put the companies that control net access under US government regulation

      Even that much is misleading, because it's not as though they're unregulated now. This would be a change of regulation, but not adding regulations where there are currently none.

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

  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 13 Feb 2015 @ 2:25am

    No one believes it at all, and it just takes away whatever credibility Pai may have had on the subject.

    No one believes it at all, and it just takes away whatever credibility Pai may have had.

    FTFY. Why should he lie less on other issues if he's willing to expose himself with such stupidity on this issue to please his masters?

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

  • identicon
    Dan G Difino, 16 Feb 2015 @ 8:45am

    Now that they've completely gone rogue

    Unevenly leveling the internet playing field for the corporations and beaurocracies only allows their bloodsucking tentacles to permanently find their way into everybody's business and noses through more regulation.

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


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