person:ajit pai

  • How Libertarian theology and Trump are destroying the Internet — and America –

    With speeds up to 100 times faster than current 4G cellular data, 5G will make possible everything from driverless cars to cell-connected long-distance drones to precision remote surgery. The amount of data flowing through our cellular systems will explode, along with places it can be used and the uses to which it can be applied.

    Remote applications that are currently too difficult to wire for high-speed internet or won’t work well at 4G speeds will easily become remotely controlled, spreading the internet revolution to every device in the home, office, and even remote workplaces.

    Along with all this data will, inevitably, come hackers, both criminal and state-sponsored. The amount of data that it now takes a third of a year to harvest with 4G can be scooped up in a single day using 5G.

    Given that the U.S. government invented the internet (yes, Al Gore did co-author the legislation) and has a huge stake in its security, doesn’t it make sense that our government should provide, at least in framework and standards, for its security?

    But, no. Trump and Pence want to do to the FCC what they’ve done to the EPA, the Department of the Interior, the FDA, and to oversight of our banking systems.

    According to Trump and his billionaire libertarian owners, the safety and security of America is not the proper role of government. Not our air, our water, our public lands, or even our internet.

    “Just turn it all over to the billionaires,” they say. “What could possibly go wrong?”

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, the former Verizon lawyer, even went so far as to say that “the market, not government, is best positioned to drive innovation and leadership” with regard to internet security.

    Meanwhile, the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee—after looking at how 5G will blow open data operations across the country—wrote just three months ago that “the cybersecurity threat now poses an existential threat to the future of the nation.”

    #Cybersécurité #Libertariens #Idéologie_californienne #5G #Normalisation

  • The Growth of Sinclair’s Conservative Media Empire | The New Yorker

    Sinclair is the largest owner of television stations in the United States, with a hundred and ninety-two stations in eighty-nine markets. It reaches thirty-nine per cent of American viewers. The company’s executive chairman, David D. Smith, is a conservative whose views combine a suspicion of government, an aversion to political correctness, and strong libertarian leanings. Smith, who is sixty-eight, has a thick neck, deep under-eye bags, and a head of silvery hair. He is an enthusiast of fine food and has owned farm-to-table restaurants in Harbor East, an upscale neighborhood in Baltimore. An ardent supporter of Donald Trump, he has not been shy about using his stations to advance his political ideology. Sinclair employees say that the company orders them to air biased political segments produced by the corporate news division, including editorials by the conservative commentator Mark Hyman, and that it feeds interviewers questions intended to favor Republicans.

    In some cases, anchors have been compelled to read from scripts prepared by Sinclair. In April, 2018, dozens of newscasters across the country parroted Trump’s invectives about “fake news,” saying, “Some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think. This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.” In response, Dan Rather, the former anchor of “CBS Evening News,” wrote, on Twitter, “News anchors looking into camera and reading a script handed down by a corporate overlord, words meant to obscure the truth not elucidate it, isn’t journalism. It’s propaganda. It’s Orwellian. A slippery slope to how despots wrest power, silence dissent, and oppress the masses.”

    It’s unclear whether Sinclair is attempting to influence the politics of its viewers or simply appealing to positions that viewers may already have—or both. Andrew Schwartzman, a telecommunications lecturer at Georgetown Law School, told me, “I don’t know where their personal philosophy ends and their business goals begin. They’re not the Koch brothers, but they reflect a deep-seated conservatism and generations of libertarian philosophy that also happen to help their business.”

    Sinclair has even greater ambitions for expansion. In May, 2017, the company announced a proposed $3.9-billion merger between Sinclair and Tribune Media Company, which owns forty-two television stations. The merger would make Sinclair far larger than any other broadcaster in the country, with stations beaming into seventy per cent of American households. The proposal alarmed regulatory and free-speech experts. Michael Copps, a former official at the Federal Communications Commission, told me, “One of the goals of the First Amendment is to make sure the American people have the news and information they need to make intelligent decisions about our democracy, and I think we’re pretty close to a situation where the population lacks the ability to do that. That’s the whole premise of self-government.” He went on, “There are a lot of problems facing our country, but I don’t know one as important as this. When you start dismantling our news-and-information infrastructure, that’s poison to self-government and poison to democracy.”

    In subsequent years, Smith took measures to deepen Sinclair’s influence among policymakers, apparently recognizing that the company’s profits were dependent upon regulatory decisions made in Washington. One of Smith’s first notable forays into politics was his support for Robert Ehrlich, Jr., a Republican congressman who represented Maryland from 1995 until 2003. Sinclair became a top donor to Ehrlich and, in 2001, Ehrlich sent the first of several letters on Sinclair’s behalf to Michael Powell, who had recently become the chair of the F.C.C. The commission was investigating a request from Sinclair to buy a new group of stations, and Ehrlich protested the “unnecessary delays on pending applications.” The F.C.C.’s assistant general counsel responded that Ehrlich’s communication had violated procedural rules. Ehrlich sent another message, alleging that the delays were politically motivated and threatening to “call for a congressional investigation into this matter.” He added, “Knowing that you have served as Chairman for a few short months, we would prefer to give you an opportunity to address these concerns.” The proposed acquisitions were approved.

    A former general-assignment reporter at the station, Jonathan Beaton, told me, “Almost immediately, I could tell it was a very corrupt culture, where you knew from top down there were certain stories you weren’t going to cover. They wanted you to keep your head down and not upset the fruit basket. I’m a Republican, and I was still appalled by what I saw at Sinclair.” Beaton characterized the man-on-the-street segments as “Don’t forget to grab some random poor soul on the street and shove a microphone in their face and talk about what the Democrats have done wrong.” He said that reporters generally complied because of an atmosphere of “intimidation and fear.”

    After Trump’s victory, it looked as though Sinclair’s investment in the candidate would pay off. In January, 2017, Trump appointed Ajit Pai, a vocal proponent of media deregulation, to be the chair of the F.C.C. Pai, formerly an associate general counsel at Verizon and an aide to Senators Jeff Sessions and Sam Brownback, was exactly the sort of commission head that Sinclair had been hoping for. He believed that competition from technology companies such as Google had made many government restrictions on traditional media irrelevant—an argument that echoed Smith’s views on ownership caps and other regulations. Sinclair executives quickly tried to cultivate a relationship with Pai; shortly after the election, he addressed a gathering of Sinclair managers at the Four Seasons in Baltimore. He also met with David Smith and Sinclair’s C.E.O., Christopher Ripley, the day before Trump’s Inauguration.

    It’s not unusual for business executives to meet with the chair of the F.C.C., but Pai soon announced a series of policy changes that seemed designed to help Sinclair. The first was the reinstatement of the ultrahigh-frequency discount, an arcane rule that digital technology had rendered obsolete. The move served no practical purpose, but it freed Sinclair to acquire many more stations without bumping up against the national cap.

    The F.C.C. soon made other regulatory modifications that were helpful to Sinclair. It eliminated a rule requiring television stations to maintain at least one local studio in licensed markets, essentially legitimatizing Sinclair’s centralized news model. Perhaps most perniciously, Pai took steps toward approving a new broadcast-transmission standard called Next Gen TV, which would require all consumers in the U.S. to purchase new televisions or converter devices. A subsidiary of Sinclair owns six patents necessary for the new standard, which could mean billions of dollars in earnings for the company. Jessica Rosenworcel, the sole Democratic commissioner at the F.C.C., told me, “It’s striking that all of our media policy decisions seem almost custom-built for this one company. Something is wrong.” Rosenworcel acknowledged that many F.C.C. policies need to be modernized, but, she said, “broadcasting is unique. It uses the public airwaves, it’s a public trust.” She added, “I don’t think those ideas are retrograde. They are values we should sustain.”

    The F.C.C. and the D.O.J. both warned Sinclair about the dummy divestitures, insisting that the company find independent owners in ten problematic markets. According to a lawsuit later filed by Tribune, instead of taking steps to appease regulators, Sinclair executives “antagonized DOJ and FCC staff” by acting “confrontational” and “belittling.” The company offered to make sales in only four of the markets, and told the Justice Department that it would have to litigate for any further concessions. One Sinclair lawyer told government representatives, “Sue me.” There was no tactical reason for Sinclair to take such a combative and self-sabotaging stance. Instead, the episode seemed to reflect how Trump’s own corruption and conflicts of interest have filtered into the business community. One industry expert who followed the proceedings closely told me that the company clearly “felt that, with the President behind them, why would the commission deny them anything?

    Then, in April, the Web site Deadspin edited the broadcasts of Sinclair anchors reciting the script about fake news into one terrifying montage, with a tapestry of anchors in different cities speaking in unison. The video ignited public outrage, and Trump tweeted a defense of Sinclair, calling it “far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke.” (In a statement, a spokesperson for Sinclair said, “This message was not presented as news and was not intended to be political—there was no mention of President Trump, political parties, policy issues, etc. It was a business objective centered on attracting more viewers.”)

    #Médias #Concentration #Dérégulation #Etats-Unis #Sinclair

  • Neutralité du Net : la fronde de la Californie contre le régulateur américain des télécoms

    La Californie n’entend pas se plier à la fin de la neutralité du Net, et tient à le faire savoir. Le 31 août, l’Assemblée californienne a approuvé un projet de loi visant à rétablir, et même renforcer, ce principe aboli en juin à l’initiative de la Maison Blanche. Instaurée en 2015 par l’administration Obama, la neutralité du Net interdisait jusque-là aux opérateurs de télécommunications de brider le trafic de certaines plateformes très consommatrices de bande passante – comme YouTube et Netflix – ou de faire payer davantage leurs utilisateurs.

    Vendredi 14 septembre, la tension est montée d’un cran entre l’Etat californien et la Commission fédérale des communications (FCC), le régulateur des télécoms ayant voté l’abrogation de la neutralité du Net. Dans un discours prononcé devant les membres d’un think tank, le président de la FCC, Ajit Pai, a qualifié « d’illégale » la loi californienne prévoyant de restaurer ce principe. « Internet est un service qui dépasse les frontières d’un Etat américain. Il s’en suit que le gouvernement fédéral est le seul à pouvoir légiférer dans ce domaine », a martelé ce républicain nommé par Donald Trump.


  • Net neutrality will be repealed Monday unless Congress takes action | Ars Technica

    With net neutrality rules scheduled to be repealed on Monday, Senate Democrats are calling on House Speaker Paul Ryan to schedule a vote that could preserve the broadband regulations.

    The US Senate voted on May 16 to reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality rules, but a House vote—and President Trump’s signature—is still needed. Today, the entire Senate Democratic Caucus wrote a letter to Ryan urging him to allow a vote on the House floor.
    Further Reading
    Senate votes to overturn Ajit Pai’s net neutrality repeal

    “The rules that this resolution would restore were enacted by the FCC in 2015 to prevent broadband providers from blocking, slowing down, prioritizing, or otherwise unfairly discriminating against Internet traffic that flows across their networks,” the letter said. “Without these protections, broadband providers can decide what content gets through to consumers at what speeds and could use this power to discriminate against their competitors or other content.” The letter was spearheaded by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai led a commission vote to repeal the rules in December 2017, but the rules remain on the books because the repeal was contingent on US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval of modified information-collection requirements. The OMB approval came last month, allowing Pai to schedule the repeal for Monday, June 11.


  • Huawei and ZTE Targeted While Security Ban Advances at U.S. FCC - Bloomberg

    U.S. regulators moved to extend a crackdown on China equipment makers as security risks, backing a ban on federal subsidies to buy networking gear from manufacturers such as Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp.

    The Federal Communications Commission voted 5-0 on Tuesday in favor of banning federal funds from being spent with companies determined to be a risk to U.S. national security. The ban won’t be final until a second vote by the FCC, which in a draft order noted congressional scrutiny of Huawei and ZTE as possible security threats.

    “For years, U.S. government officials have expressed concern about the national security threats posed by certain foreign communications equipment providers in the communications supply chain," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said. "Hidden ‘backdoors’ to our networks in routers, switches, and other network equipment can allow hostile foreign powers to inject viruses and other malware, steal Americans’ private data, spy on U.S. businesses, and more.”

    #Commerce_international #OMC #Cybersécurité #Cyberwarfare #Surveillance

  • Un lobby des télécoms américain compte attaquer les États instituant la neutralité du Net

    À la mi-décembre, l’autorité des télécoms, la FCC, mettait fin à la non-discrimination des contenus instituée en 2015. Pour son président, Ajit Pai, la neutralité du Net serait la pire ennemie de l’investissement dans les réseaux, sans y apporter de grande preuve. En réponse, plusieurs États préparent des lois remettant en place ce principe de non-discrimination au niveau local, devant l’abandon fédéral. Des initiatives qui ne plaisent pas à la FCC... et à USTelecom, l’un des principaux lobbys de (...)

    #USTelecom #neutralité #procès #lobbying #FCC


  • Abandon de la #neutralité_du_Net aux USA

    Paris, le 21 décembre 2017 - Nous publions ici la version intégrale d’une #Tribune sur la neutralité du Net publiée par Benjamin Bayart dans Libération le 14 décembre dernier, avec leur autorisation. L’autorité de régulation des télécoms américaine est en train de renoncer à défendre la neutralité du Net. Ajit Pai, qui est à la tête de cette autorité, la FCC (Federal Communication Commision), a d’ailleurs été mis à ce poste par l’administration Trump précisément avec cette mission. Ce programme fait beaucoup de bruit, des deux côtés de l’Atlantique, dans le petit monde de l’Internet. Voyons rapidement pourquoi. Le principe est souvent présenté de manière assez complexe, quand ce n’est pas incompréhensible, alors qu’il est en fait relativement simple. Le métier d’un (...)

  • Here’s a List of the Members of Congress Who Just Told Ajit Pai to Repeal Net Neutrality
    And how much money they’ve taken from the telecom industry.

    Wednesday afternoon, 107 Republican members of Congress sent Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai a letter supporting his plan to repeal net neutrality protections ahead of the commission’s Thursday vote.

    “The record is exhaustive, every viewpoint is well represented, and the time has come for the Commission to act,” the letter says. The current regulations, of course, are widely popular with the American people, and there have been widespread public protests urging the FCC to keep the protections in place.

    The House Committee on Energy and Commerce and its Subcommittee on Communications and Technology released the letter, and it is signed by 107 lawmakers. Many of their signatures are illegible, and the committee did not release a typed list of the members who signed it. A call to the committee was not immediately returned.

    Motherboard staff has attempted to compile a list of names on the letter. The full letter is embedded below. So far, we have been able to read 84 names; if you can read any that we have missed please tweet at us or email us ( We will be updating this list throughout the night.

    We have also listed the amount of money they have received in donations from the telecom industry since 1989, as compiled by The Center for Responsive Politics and The Verge.

    If net neutrality is an issue that is important to you and the name of your representative is on this list, you may want to consider whether they should continue serving you the next time they are up for reelection.


  • États-Unis : fin de la #neutralité_du_Net ?

    Paris, 12 décembre 2017 — Le 14 décembre, la Federal Communication Commission (FCC, l’autorité américaine de régulation des télécoms) s’apprête à imposer de nouvelles règles qui vont briser la neutralité du Net, le principe selon lequel tout trafic Internet doit être traité de manière égale, sans discrimination. En 2015, sous le gouvernement Obama, la FCC avait obtenu de nouvelles règles lui permettant d’interdire aux fournisseurs d’accès Internet (FAI) d’entraver l’accès des utilisateurs aux contenus. Fin novembre dernier, le nouveau président de la FCC, Ajit Pai, annonçait souhaiter annuler ces règles pour revenir au cadre réglementaire antérieur à 2015, soumettant la régulation du FAI aux règles générales du droit de la consommation et de la concurrence, parfaitement inadaptées et (...)

  • 7 Things to Know About Ajit Pai, the Man Trump Tasked With Killing Net Neutrality | Alternet

    Ajit Pais is chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, the government agency that regulates radio and television airwaves, cable TV, and internet. In other words, he has immense power.

    President Trump appointed Pai to serve as chairman in January and Pai has quickly moved to advance the interests of big broadcasting companies and internet service providers at the expense of the public. Next month, the five-member FCC will vote on Pai’s proposal to roll back FCC rules limiting cable and internet service providers from charging more for their services.

    Even Trump supporters should be appalled, says the reliably conservative Forbes magazine.

    Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the protocols of the World Wide Web, is blunt: “The FCC under Ajit Pai has consistently chosen to sell out Americans for the profit of corporations."

    So who is this guy?

    #Neutralité_internet #FCC

  • Spotify, Google, Tons of Other Companies Will Protest to Save Net Neutrality - Motherboard

    The protest is organized by Fight for the Future, freepress, and Demand Progress. It’s set to happen five days before the first deadline for comments on the FCC’s proposal to remove the classification of broadband as a telecommunications service. It’s part of FCC chief and former Verizon executive Ajit Pai’s attempt to destroy what protects the internet from fast lanes and discrimination by monolithic internet service providers like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon.


  • En 20 minutes, John Oliver va vous faire comprendre (et aimer) la neutralité du Net

    Dans cette nouvelle vidéo, l’animateur précise d’entrée que le concept est de nouveau au coeur des débats aux Etats-Unis. Si des mesures de protection ont été prises sous l’administration Obama, celle de Trump a décidé d’attaquer frontalement la neutralité du Net, comme nous le soulignions il y a quelques semaines.


    L’équipe de John Oliver n’hésite pas à faire un sort à Ajit Pai, le nouveau patron du régulateur américain des télécoms, la Federal Communications Commission (FCC), qui a récemment déclaré que « les jours de la neutralité du Net étaient comptés » . Sous les dehors bonhommes du nouveau patron du gendarme des télécoms US se cache en effet un ancien avocat de Verizon (l’un des plus gros FAI américain), qui se fait le héraut d’une absence totale de régulation dans le secteur qu’il est censé réguler.


    L’appel de l’animateur est clair : « tous les groupes qui font Internet doivent s’allier : les gamers, les youtubeurs, les mannequins d’Instagram, Tom de Myspace. On a besoin de vous tous, même des fans de Trump sur 4chan et Reddit. Et ne me dites pas que vous n’avez pas le temps de le faire : si Internet est bien la preuve de quelque chose, c’est que nous avons bien trop de temps à notre disposition ».


  • F.C.C. Chairman Pushes Sweeping Changes to Net Neutrality Rules - The New York Times

    The chairman, Ajit Pai, said high-speed internet service should no longer be treated like a public utility with strict rules, as it is now. The move would, in effect, largely leave the industry to police itself.

    The plan is Mr. Pai’s most forceful action in his race to roll back rules that govern telecommunications, cable and broadcasting companies, which he says are harmful to business. But he is certain to face a contentious battle with the consumers and tech companies that rallied around the existing rules, which are meant to prevent broadband providers like AT&T and Comcast from giving special treatment to any streaming videos, news sites and other content.

    The policy was the signature telecom regulation of the Obama era. It classified broadband as a common carrier service akin to phones, which are subject to strong government oversight. President Obama made an unusual public push for the reclassification in a video message that was widely shared and appeared to embolden the last F.C.C. chairman, Tom Wheeler, to make the change.

    The classification also led to the creation of broadband privacy rules in 2016 that made it harder to collect and sell browsing information and other user data. Last month, President Trump signed a bill overturning the broadband privacy regulations, which would have gone into effect at the end of the year.

    Last week, Mr. Pai went to Silicon Valley to meet with executives of tech companies like Facebook, Oracle, Cisco and Intel to solicit their support for revisions to the broadband rules. The Silicon Valley companies are divided on their views about the existing policy, with internet companies like Facebook supporting strong rules and hardware and chip makers open to Mr. Pai’s changes.

    The F.C.C.’s policing of broadband companies has drawn greater interest with recent proposals for big mergers, such as AT&T’s $85 billion bid for Time Warner, that create huge media conglomerates that distribute and own video content. Already, AT&T is giving mobile subscribers free streaming access to television content by DirecTV, which it owns. Consumer groups have complained that such practices, known as sponsored data, put rivals at a disadvantage and could help determine what news and information is most likely to reach consumers.

    About 800 tech start-ups and investors, organized by the Silicon Valley incubator Y Combinator and the San Francisco policy advocacy group Engine, protested the unwinding of net neutrality in a letter sent to Mr. Pai on Wednesday.

    “Without net neutrality, the incumbents who provide access to the internet would be able to pick winners or losers in the market,” they wrote in the letter.

    So far, Google and Netflix, the most vocal proponents of net neutrality in previous years, have not spoken individually about Mr. Pai’s proposal. Speaking through their trade group, the Internet Association, they said the broadband and net neutrality rules should stay intact.
    “Rolling back these rules or reducing the legal sustainability of the order will result in a worse internet for consumers and less innovation online,” Michael Beckerman, chief executive of the Internet Association, said in a statement.


  • Neutralité du Net : le régulateur américain des télécoms ouvre les hostilités

    En 2015, à l’issue d’un grand débat sur la question aux Etats-Unis, la FCC avait décidé que l’Internet américain était un « bien public », au même titre que le réseau téléphonique, et que les fournisseurs d’accès à Internet (FAI) devaient être soumis aux mêmes règles, incluant la neutralité du réseau. Les FAI se sont alors retrouvés placés sous l’autorité de la FCC, qui a depuis le pouvoir de veiller à ce qu’ils n’enfreignent pas la neutralité du Net. Une immense victoire pour les défenseurs de ce principe – défenseurs des libertés et entreprises des nouvelles technologies – et une grande défaite pour les opérateurs télécoms américains, qui souhaitent le voir tomber, afin de proposer des offres différenciées.
    Règles définitives

    Quand Donald Trump a nommé à la tête de la FCC Ajit Pai, fervent opposant à la neutralité du Net et ancien conseiller de l’opérateur Verizon, les défenseurs des libertés numériques savaient que la victoire risquait d’être de courte durée. Mercredi, celui-ci a dévoilé une proposition visant à remettre en question la décision de 2015, qu’il qualifie d’« erreur », afin de revenir « au système plus souple qui nous a si bien servi sous les administrations Clinton, Bush, et les six premières années de l’administration Obama ». Le texte, qu’il soumettra au vote de la FCC le 18 mai, interdit aussi toute modification future des règles liées à la neutralité du Net.


  • The Republican Party Is Ready to Sell Off Your Internet Privacy at a Level That Boggles the Mind | Alternet

    Trump’s new Chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, recently co-authored what is either an intentionally or naively deceptive op-ed in The Washington Post.

    Pai suggested that when Republicans in the House and Senate – without a single Democratic vote in either body – voted to legalize your Internet Service Provider – your ISP – to sell your personal (and you-thought-private) browsing information and the content of your emails and video-viewing to anybody they choose, they were actually working to “protect” your privacy. He knew this, he wrote, because critics of the GOP policy “don’t understand how advertising works.”

    Pai’s argument is basically that if Google can sell or use your information, then Comcast, AT&T, Time-Warner, etc., should be able to, too.

    But there’s a fundamental difference. If you don’t want Google to sell or use your information, you can use a search engine (like or an online store that promises not to.

    But your internet service provider sees everything you do on the internet, right down to the keystroke level. They can monitor every VOIP conversation, make note of every search or purchase, and transcribe every email or IM. Just like your phone company, before Title II, could listen in on every one of your phone calls.


  • États-Unis : la FCC poursuit son assaut sur la neutralité du Net, vue comme « une erreur »

    L’autorité américaine des télécoms suspend des règles de protection des données personnelles, perçues comme trop lourdes pour le secteur. Il s’agit du dernier épisode dans le retour à une régulation plus légère, loin des mesures prises ces deux dernières années, qu’il s’agit de retirer. Le démontage de la neutralité du Net par la FCC continue à marche forcée. Pour le nouveau président du régulateur américaine des télécoms, Ajit Pai, il s’agit d’« une erreur ». « Cette approche a amené un doute énorme dans le (...)