Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Why Pai Lied About Net Neutrality Comments
“It’s troubling that you allowed the public myth created by the FCC to persist and your misrepresentation to remain uncorrected for over a year,” wrote Reps. Frank Pallone, Mike Doyle, Debbie Dingell and Jerry McNerney. “To the extent that you were aware of misrepresentations prior to the release of the [Inspector General’s] Report and failed to correct them, such actions constitute a wanton disregard for Congress and the American public.”
What happened, when and why
By now it’s obvious the agency has long known that no distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks took place. And indeed Pai should explain what really happened and when he became aware of it.
Why would the head of a federal agency want to mislead Congress, reporters and the public?
It’s easy to understand that Pai would have preferred a broken system to one that accurately documented public sentiment about Net Neutrality. At the time he had a vested interest in downplaying the overwhelming and bipartisan public support for rules he was determined to unravel.
By raising questions about the legitimacy of public engagement in the Net Neutrality proceeding, he could derail the coming freight train of comments from those determined to save the open internet. And indeed, it’s likely that a faulty system prevented hundreds of thousands of people from weighing in on the issue.
Pai’s problem with the public
This is a problem for Pai. The FCC is required by law to take public comments into account when it makes new rules. The appearance of irregularities in the FCC's commenting system became a convenient excuse for the chairman to dismiss these comments and move forward with his unpopular repeal.
Lying to discredit a genuinely engaged public is just another smokescreen from a man determined to return to the days when telecommunications policy was made behind closed doors in conversations between regulators and industry lobbyists.
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