Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Why Pai Lied About Net Neutrality Comments


Ajit Pai has a lot of explaining to do.

The Federal Communications Commission chairman will go before a Senate oversight committee on Thursday just days after 
an investigation by his agency’s inspector general revealed that the FCC had been ... umm ... less than truthful when it insisted a cyberattack crashed its public-commenting system during last year’s Net Neutrality proceeding.

On Tuesday, four Democratic members of the House Commerce Committee sent a series of questions to Ajit Pai, seeking to understand what the chairman knew about the comment system’s failure and when he knew it. 

The questions speak to a curious timeline where Pai and his staff took considerable pains to bolster the FCC chief information officer’s claim that the May 2017 crash was due to outside forces beyond the agency’s control.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Net Neutrality Is Not Dead Yet, or Ever

In a hilarious scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” a would-be corpse protests when a relative attempts to deposit him prematurely on a cart stacked high with bodies.

“I’m not dead yet,” he tells the body collector.

“He will be soon. He’s very ill,” his relative says, to which the man insists: “But I’m getting better.”

Net neutrality is getting much better thanks to the fierce public opposition that’s met Trump-administration efforts to kill off the principle that protects the open internet…

More at the Seattle Times

Monday, June 11, 2018

Net Neutrality Can Still Be Saved

Originally published at HuffPost

A future without net neutrality is here. Well, almost.

The Federal Communications Commission will take away the rights of internet users on Monday. Officially, the repeal of the 2015 net neutrality protections ― a repeal that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Trump pick, had pushed for ― will take effect.

That means that internet providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon will be able to block, throttle and otherwise interfere with online content without any real legal consequences.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Red Alert for Net Neutrality: What You Need to Know


Starting this Wednesday Net Neutrality supporters will raise the alarm in defense of an open internet.

Since December of last year — when the Federal Communications Commission voted to strip internet users of their Net Neutrality protections — millions of advocates of every political stripe have been organizing to nullify the ruling and restore the safeguards we expect every time we go online.

This week and next, we are joining with organizations and online companies are calling on the Senate to pass a “resolution of disapproval.” If passed by both chambers and signed by the president, the resolution would reinstate the Net Neutrality protections we won in 2015. These baseline open-internet rules prevent companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from interfering with our rights to connect and communicate.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Addressing the Federal Overhaul of the Lifeline Program and Its Effect on Low-Income New Yorkers


Testimony of Timothy Karr, Free Press 
Before the New York City Council Committee on Technology
February 28, 2018 

Hello. My Name is Timothy Karr and I’m the senior director of strategy for Free Press. At Free Press we fight for everyone’s rights to connect and communicate, which includes advocating for policies that promote universal access to an affordable and open internet.

As such, we often cross swords with the Federal Communications Commission. And we’ve been particularly busy during the Trump administration. President Trump appointed as FCC chairman a person who’s devoted his career to handing telecommunications giants special favors at the expense of the people he’s supposed to be serving.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Net Neutrality Politics is Local

“All politics is local,” the late House Speaker Tip O’Neill famously said. O’Neill is less known for another saying that also holds true: “You can’t assume anything in politics. That’s why every Saturday I walk around my district.”
It’s easy for cloistered Washington politicos to assume that Net Neutrality is dead, undone in December by the Trump FCC and its Verizon-friendly chairman, Ajit Pai. But any elected official who follows O’Neill’s advice and walks beyond the Beltway is hearing a very different story.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Trump’s Appalling Record on Internet Freedom at Home Makes Him a Weak Champion of Rights Overseas

Donald Trump wants to make the internet great again … in Iran.

But it’s another story when it comes to defending online rights in the United States.
On Tuesday, Under Secretary of State Steve Goldstein told the Iranian government to stop blocking social-media sites being used to help organize protests across the country. Goldstein also encouraged Iranians to use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to circumvent state-network controls.
Goldstein’s comments followed up to a Trump tweet from earlier in the week calling out the Iranian leadership for “[closing] down the Internet so that peaceful demonstrators cannot communicate.”
Indeed, Iran has gone to new extremes to restrict its people’s access to the free and open internet.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Trump's Secret Weapon against a Free Press

Originally published at BillMoyers.com

Journalists in Manila had very little time to cover Monday’s meeting between President Donald Trump and his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte. But it was enough to witness one aspect of the budding bromance between these two world leaders.


As soon as journalists began asking questions about Duterte’s deplorable human-rights record, security shooed them from the room. Duterte pointed at the departing reporters and said, “Guys, you are the spies.” This elicited a laugh from President Trump, who feels a kinship with anyone who opposes a truth-seeking press.

According to Human Rights Watch, at least 177 journalists have been killed in the Philippines since 1986, making it one of the deadliest countries to be a reporter. Of these, nearly half were targeted for their coverage of politics, corruption, crime and human rights, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Block the AT&T-Time Warner Deal — But Not Because Trump Hates CNN

AT&T’s plan to take over Time Warner has hit a snag at the Justice Department.
According to press reports, top DoJ officials have told AT&T executives that they may need to divest Time Warner’s Turner Networks — including CNN — for the regulator to approve AT&T’s multibillion-dollar acquisition of the media giant.
Some of those reports also suggest that dumping DIRECTV, AT&T’s recently acquired satellite pay-TV platform, might also be a route to approval.
Still, speculation is rife that the DoJ is putting the brakes on the merger at the behest of President Trump, a fierce critic of CNN, which has pulled few punches in covering his administration.
In 2016, Trump made a campaign pledge to reject the AT&T deal if elected president. “It’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few,” he said in a speech just two weeks before the general election.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Breaking ideological gridlock from the bottom up

Originally published at OpenDemocracy.net On a cold Thursday morning in January, a small group of advocates gathered outside the imposing edifice of the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C. They opened the trunk of a red Ford Fusion parked nearby and began unloading more than 20 white banker’s boxes. Within minutes, they had assembled a makeshift cardboard podium. Inside the boxes were more than a million signatures collected in just two weeks from people across the country. Each person had signed an online petition urging the FCC to protect Net Neutrality, the democratic principle that ensures the internet remains free and open and prohibits the companies that control high-speed internet access from blocking or throttling content.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Five Reasons to Fire FCC Chairman Pai

Originally Published at Huffington Post

The Senate majority is charging forward with plans to vote to reconfirm Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai for another five years. Rehiring Pai to head the agency that oversees U.S. communications policies would be a boon for the phone and cable companies he eagerly serves. But it would hurt everyone else who needs this agency to put our communications rights before the profits of monopoly-minded media giants.

Usually nominations to agencies like the FCC sail through without a dissenting vote. But based on the last five years he spent at the agency (and his past eight months as designated chairman), it’s clear Pai doesn’t deserve another term.

That’s why Free Press Action Fund is urging the Senate to reject Trump’s nominee and why thousands of people are calling Capitol Hill before the vote — expected as soon as Monday — and asking their senators to fire Pai.

And for good reason.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Trump’s War on the First Amendment Finds Supporters at the FCC

Donald Trump’s war against a free press has extended into “the cyber,” where his followers at the Federal Communications Commission are intent on unwinding a vitally important free-speech protection that internet users won after years of organizing and effort.

To make matters worse, the Trump FCC is carrying out its quest to kill Net Neutrality in a distinctly undemocratic way — including banning some activists from ever attending the agency’s public meetings for the alleged infraction of demonstrating their support for open-internet protections. And that’s just one in a growing number of incidents in which the FCC has cracked down on the rights of people who support Net Neutrality.

During the monthly FCC meetings that have occurred since Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai took office, agency staff and security have denied the First Amendment freedoms of people and reporters attending the events, which are supposed to be open to the public. Pai’s agency has also violated protesters’ due-process rights.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Six Things Trump’s FCC Chair Doesn’t Want You to Know About Net Neutrality

Originally published at BillMoyers.com

For Net Neutrality supporters the last week felt like déjà vu.

Under its Trump-anointed chairman, Ajit Pai, the Federal Communications Commission decided last Thursday to revisit its Net Neutrality ruling.

The agency reopened a docket for public comments on Pai’s proposal to undermine the safeguards needed to prevent internet service providers from blocking, throttling or de-prioritizing the online content people want to see.

The last time the agency did this, in 2014 and 2015, it unleashed a torrent of public comments in support of the idea that the open internet should have basic protections under the law. Four million people voiced their concerns via the agency’s beleaguered website. The vast majority of these comments supported meaningful Net Neutrality protections.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Trump's FCC and FTC Chairs Rush in to Defend Big Telco's Assault on Internet Privacy

It’s hard to defend legislation that undermines internet users’ essential privacy rights. But that hasn’t stopped the broadband industry and its many friends in Washington from trying.

Even amid widespread bipartisan outrage against the congressional resolution Trump signed this week — which rolled back online privacy protections the Obama FCC created in 2016 — Beltway Republicans want you to believe it’s a good idea to let AT&T, Comcast and Verizon follow your every move online.

Chief among industry apologists is Trump’s FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, who alongside Federal Trade Commission Acting Chair Maureen Ohlhausen penned a mistake-riddled Op-Ed for the Washington Post on Wednesday. They claimed the resolution that struck down strong FCC protections somehow didn’t do just that.