Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai recently sparked a debate when he said that he would follow through on his pledge to repeal Obama-era Internet regulations. But Nov. 27, the Indian American executive asked people to not harass his family over the decision.
In an interview on Fox News’s “Fox and Friends” Nov. 27, Pai told host Steve Doocy how posters were put up outside his home, some even had his children’s names. One poster, he said, read: “They will come to know the truth. Dad murdered Democracy in cold blood.”
“They’ve listed your children’s names on the signs and said that you were an evil man who murdered democracy,” said Doocy. “How freaked out were your kids to know that whoever left that there knew who they were?”
“It was a little nerve-racking, especially for my wife,” Pai said.
“It certainly crosses a line with me,” he said. “I understand that people are passionate about policy, but the one thing in America that should remain sacred is that families, wives and kids, should remain out of it.”
“And stop harassing us at our homes,” he added.
The current rules, known as net neutrality, impose utility-style regulation on ISPs such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to prevent them from favoring their own digital services over those of their rivals.
“Internet regulation activists have crossed the line by threatening and harassing my family. They should leave my family out of this and focus on debating the merits of the issue,” Pai said in a statement, according to The Washington Post.
Over 200 tech companies like Twitter, Airbnb, Tumblr and Vimeo also reached out to Pai on Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day in the U.S., to keep in place current net neutrality rules.
The companies praised Cyber Monday as a “testament to the power of the free and open Internet to encourage entrepreneurship, drive innovation, make our lives easier, and to support a healthy economy.”
“Our current net neutrality rules support innovation and give all businesses the opportunity to compete equally for consumers. With strong net neutrality protections, the internet is an open marketplace where any business can compete, allowing individuals to start companies easily, market their products across the country, and connect with customers anywhere worldwide,” the companies wrote in the letter.
Citing figures, they wrote that in 2016, Americans spent almost $3.5 billion online on Cyber Monday, making it the largest online sales day in history, adding that e-commerce continues to grow.
Without these rules, they wrote, “Internet service providers will be able to favor certain websites and e-businesses, or the platforms they use to garner new customers, over others by putting the ones that can pay in fast lanes and slowing down or even blocking others. Businesses may have to pay a toll just to reach customers. This would put small- and medium-sized businesses at a disadvantage and prevent innovative new ones from even getting off the ground.”