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  • Geebo 10:19 am on January 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    Ajit Pai celebrates bipartisan defeat of net neutrality, except that’s not what happened 

    Ajit Pai celebrates bipartisan defeat of net neutrality, except that's not what happened

    If you’re old enough to remember the second Gulf War you may remember that Saddam Hussein had a spokesperson who would frequently appear in the media making outrageous claims about how the then dictator of Iraq was going to defeat the US Armed Forces while tanks were rolling into Baghdad. His statements were so outlandish that the American Media nicknamed him Comical Ali. Now it seems that FCC Chairman has taken a page out of his playbook.

    After Congress failed to reinstate net neutrality protections during their latest session, Pai released the following statement to the media

    “I’m pleased that a strong bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives declined to reinstate heavy-handed Internet regulation,” Pai said in a statement. “They did the right thing — especially considering the positive results for American consumers since the adoption of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order.”

    Except, that’s not even remotely close to what happened. While Pai makes it sound like there was unilateral support for his ironically named Restoring Internet Freedom Order that’s not what happened. As Ars Technica points out

    The Pai-led Federal Communications Commission repealed Obama-era net neutrality rules, but the repeal could have been reversed by Congress if it acted before the end of its session. Democrats won a vote to reverse the repeal in the Senate but weren’t able to get enough votes in the House of Representatives before time ran out.

    So, it wasn’t bipartisan support as much as it was the Democrats not being able to get enough votes in the Senate. That’s not bipartisan support, that’s just Congress voting along party lines.

    Sadly, this is just a symptom of a larger problem within this administration as the current regime seems to have an edict that if you tell the same lies long enough they’ll become perceived as truth. It’s hard to think of another administration that represents the dystopian future of George Orwell’s 1984 any more than the current one.

     
  • Geebo 9:14 am on October 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Hurricane Michael, phone service   

    Ajit Pai blames telcos for slow response after hurricane due to regulations he enacted 

    Ajit Pai blames telcos for slow response after hurricane due to regulations he enacted

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

    After Hurricane Michael recently struck Florida, many in the devastated areas were left without any kind of phone service. This was reminiscent to Hurricane Sandy in 2012 when many New York residents were left without similar capabilities. In both cases, the phone companies were slow to restore service. In 2012, Verizon was hesitant to restore landlines after the storm destroyed the lines. The Obama-era FCC instituted regulation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy that required service restoration by the telcos after natural disasters.

    Now, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai criticized the phone companies for not restoring phone service in Florida quickly enough after Hurricane Michael. But as Ars Technica points out, Chairman Pai is basically criticizing a problem that he created. Pai repealed the Obama-era requirement to restore service in 2017 claiming that the regulation prevented the telcos from upgrading their copper lines to fiber. This didn’t prevent Chairman Pai from criticizing Verizon, his former employer, from not responding fast enough to restore service in Florida.

    In my opinion, this is more evidence of how Ajit Pai acts like someone from the Ministry of Truth from George Orwell’s novel 1984. He says things to the public that are so blatantly untrue you have to wonder if he knows he’s lying or if he actually believes what he’s saying. For example when Pai claimed that the majority of Americans were opposed to net neutrality while the public was clamoring for the FCC to keep the protections in place. While I’m not prone to name calling, Ajit Pai is a joke and only has his position as a way to protect the interest of the telecommunications companies rather than the American people.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on February 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    Ajit Pai receives gun award from NRA for ‘saving the internet’ 

    Ajit Pai receives gun award from NRA for 'saving the internet'

    In our last post, we observed how tone-deaf FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and the current administration is when it comes to the overwhelming popular support for net neutrality. For those who may not know the concept of net neutrality promises a free an open internet where all internet traffic is treated equally, Without it, internet service providers could throttle traffic to any competing service like Netflix and then have you pay extra to access that service.

    However, when it comes to being tone-deaf, it appears that no one beats the National Rifle Association, otherwise known as the NRA. While the wounds of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead were still fresh in the mind of the public, the NRA decided to present its Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire award to Ajit Pai for what American Conservative Union Executive Director Dan Schneider called “saving the internet”, while NRA board member Carolyn Meadows said that Pai “fought to preserve your free speech rights”. Although, neither speaker clarified how Pai has done either of these things.

    This kind of grandstanding in the face of tragedy is nothing new for the NRA. They once famously refused to cancel their annual convention in Denver shortly after the infamous shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. As you can expect, the award includes a handmade Kentucky long rifle that Pai can claim at his discretion. One has to wonder if this will be the gun that Pai uses to take net neutrality out back and shoot it.

     
  • Geebo 10:02 am on February 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    House Dems put the FCC on notice 

    House Dems put the FCC on notice

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

    To say that the Ajit Pai-led FCC has been anti-consumer would be an understatement. From the repeal of net neutrality to the attempt to cut subsidies that provide phones to low-income families, it’s become pretty obvious that the former Verizon attorney has acted more in the interests of the corporations rather than the American people. Now, with the House of Representatives being controlled by the Democrats, lawmakers are looking to reassert their oversight of the FCC.

    Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle have accused the FCC of being too secretive and acting too much in the interest of corporations instead of consumers. The pair of Democratic Representatives published an open letter to Chairman Pai and pulled no punches in the process…

    Not only have you have failed on numerous occasions to provide Democratic members of this committee with responses to their inquiries, you have also repeatedly denied or delayed responding to legitimate information requests from the public about agency operations. These actions have denied the public of a full and fair understanding of how the FCC under your leadership has arrived at public policy decisions that impact Americans every day in communities across the country.

    Later today, the Communications Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the impact Pai’s repeal of net neutrality has had on consumers and free speech. Pai has been instructed to have a written response to the Representatives concerns by March 4th. While this won’t be an overnight restoration of net neutrality protections, it’s at least a step in the right direction.

     
  • Geebo 10:20 am on January 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    Nothing the FCC promised has happened after repealing net neutrality 

    Nothing the FCC promised has happened after repealing net neutrality

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and the worst advertisement for Resse’s.

    When the FCC led by Chairman Ajit Pai repealed the net neutrality regulations put in place by the Obama Administration, Pai said that the repeal would lead to greater internet innovation, deliver broadband to more rural areas and would increase competition among internet service providers. By the same token, he might as well have promised everyone a pony, world peace, and a Cleveland Browns Super Bowl victory. He also claimed that prior to the regulations, no ISP had ever violated the tenets of net neutrality which of course was not true.

    Now, over a year after the repeal, Motherboard investigated whether or not if any of Pai’s claims came true. To the surprise of no one, except those who have blind faith in the current administration, not only have none of these claims come even remotely close to true, things have gotten even worse. There has been no marketable increase in competition as still most areas in the country only have a ‘choice’ between one or two providers, internet rates have steadily increased, innovation is all but dead, and the majority of rural areas still find themselves being underserved by the broadband providers.

    Meanwhile, many broadband providers or their parent companies have been laying off employees while raking in record profits. Speaking of profits, none of that money is being invested back into the infrastructure needed to maintain a serviceable internet in our country even after the ISPs were given tax cuts and subsidies by the Trump Administration. Again, it’s at this point we must point out that Chairman Pai is a former attorney for broadband provider Verizon who is just one of the companies who has benefitted from the repeal.

    Sadly, the repeal of net neutrality is just a symptom of a bigger disease where the current administration has little regard for consumers or its constituents and continues on a campaign of grandiose falsities no matter how much common sense dictates otherwise.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on January 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , phone location data,   

    FCC blames shutdown on failure to investigate private data being sold by telecoms 

    FCC blames shutdown on failure to investigate user location data being sold by telecoms

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

    Last week, tech news site Motherboard published an investigation that exposed how user location data, accurate up to a few hundred meters, is being sold by the major cell phone carriers to third parties. In their investigation, MOtherboard discovered these services being used by car salesmen, property managers bail bondsmen, and bounty hunters just to name a few. All were found to be obtaining this information without any kind of warrant that police would need to obtain to be able to access this kind of user information. Motherboard’s investigation has resulted in House Democrats calling for the FCC to appear before them in response to the crisis.

    Not surprisingly, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has responded by saying that not only is the sale of location data not a threat to public safety but that any further investigation into the matter has been suspended due to the government shutdown. How convenient for Mr. Pai. This is where we usually mention that before joining the FCC, Mr. Pai was a prominent attorney for Verizon, one of the carriers accused of selling user location data. Ever since the FCC rolled back the net neutrality regulations enacted by the Obama Administration, just about everything Mr. Pai has done in office has benefitted the telecoms and internet providers while claiming that it’s what’s best for consumers.

    Because of his record even if the government was in full operation logic dictates that it would be highly unusual that Chairman Pai would do anything about the sale of user location data. The wholesale failure to protect consumer privacy under the watch of Chairman Pai continues unabated with little to no recourse for consumers. Maybe the special investigations that are looking into President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia also need to investigate whether or not Chairman Pai is colluding with his former telecom masters.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on December 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    FBI investigating possible net neutrality fraud 

    FBI investigating possible net neutrality fraud

    The last we heard about the net neutrality debate, the FCC had admitted that half a million comments submitted to the FCC website were made by phony Russian accounts. In the run-up to net neutrality’s repeal by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, the public could submit either their support or opposition to net neutrality, the regulations that protected a free and open internet. Pai, a former Verizon attorney, repealed net neutrality claiming that it stifled innovation. During the past week, the FBI decided to get involved with the investigation into the fake accounts.

    The FBI has launched an investigation into whether or not “people’s identities were posted to the FCC’s website without their permission, falsely attributing to them opinions about net neutrality rules.” According to the New York Attorney General’s office, close to ten million comments submitted to the FCC’s website were submitted with stolen identities. The total amount of comments received numbered around 24 million. When factoring in what were believed to be legitimate comments close to 99% were in favor of keeping net neutrality protections in place.

    The FBI has subpoenaed several telecom lobbyists and trade groups. Previously the state of New York had requested information from the FCC regarding the status of these allegedly fake accounts but by most reports, the FCC refused to cooperate citing the state of New York had no authority to investigate these claims. Now, only time will tell if anything actually comes out of this new investigation by the FBI or will Ajit Pai’s higher-ups will try to hamper the investigation? After all, the administration has to do something to keep that telecom campaign money pouring in.

     
  • Geebo 10:10 am on December 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Betsy DeVos, , for-profit schools   

    For-profit college closes leaving students in debt without degrees 

    While we won’t mention any of the institutions by name, we’ve all seen the advertisements by for-profit colleges on TV. They all seem to make grandiose of promises of a better future with an almost guaranteed promise of employment once you graduate. Some even promise laptops or tablets just for being admitted to the school.  Since many of these schools are only in the business of making money once could assume that they probably don’t reject many applicants. They’re also seen as predatory as they mostly target low-income students and veterans while costing at least four times more than a community college which tends to have better education programs.

    These for-profit schools are largely funded by federal student loans which the majority of students end up defaulting in without ever getting a degree. One such college chain known as the Education Corporation of America just went bankrupt leaving 20,000 students without degrees and college credits that can’t be transferred to most other schools. Another problem with schools like this is that they’re accredited by agencies that are themselves for-profit agencies.

    During the Obama Administration, a number of these accreditation agencies had their credentials revoked but had them reinstated by current Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. If that seems oddly familiar to you it’s because it’s exactly what FCC Chairman Ajit Pai did with net neutrality, putting the power and profit back in the hands of the telecoms. While we’re not against any company making a profit we are opposed to profits being made at the expense of the less fortunate and the current administration seems to be all about making profits for their pet industries by any means necessary.

     
  • Geebo 10:12 am on December 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    FCC admits Russian interference in net neutrality debate 

    FCC admits Russian interference in net neutrality debate

    This week, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, released a memo where he admitted that at least half a million comments submitted to the FCC came from Russian email addresses. If you’ll recall, the FCC opened up their website to comments in order to discuss the then pending repeal of net neutrality legislation. The site was flooded with comments that the FCC first claimed was a denial of service or DDoS attack. Later on, the FCC backed down on that claim.

    The 500,000 comments made by Russian accounts were all said to be in favor of net neutrality and Pai has put this forward as evidence of foreign interference into our democratic process. The question that needs to be asked is, were these fake accounts in favor of net neutrality so the Trump Administration’s FCC could claim that the commenting period was invalid in their way to repealing the net neutrality protections put in place by the Obama Administration?

    When you have an administration with alleged questionable ties to Russia, why would Russia act as an opponent to the administration’s policies unless their only goal was to make net neutrality supporters look bad? With Ajit Pai constantly changing the narrative on net neutrality if he says the sky is blue you may want to look outside to make sure he’s right. It’s looking more and more like the FCC sold out consumer internet protections wholesale to the major telecoms with a little help from overseas friends.

     
  • Geebo 9:10 am on October 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , American Broadband and Telecommunications, ,   

    FCC cracks down on corrupt telco, but is it a case of the tail wagging the dog? 

    FCC cracks down on corrupt telco, but is it a case of the tail wagging the dog?

    In the past, I’ve not had kind things to say about the FCC led by former Verizon mouthpiece Ajit Pai. I’ve long criticized Pai for his obvious disregard for the American people when it came to his total disregard for the consumer when he repealed the net neutrality protections. However, recently, the FCC has cracked down on an allegedly corrupt telecommunications company who was said to be taking advantage of the less fortunate among us. Here’s Chairman Pai himself to tell you all about it.

    A company called American Broadband and Telecommunications based in Toledo, Ohio, is accused of taking government money for the Lifeline program which is supposed to provide low-income households with more affordable phone and internet service. The founder of the company is said to have used the money for country club memberships, a Ferrari, a Florida condo and a private aircraft. The FCC is looking to fine American Broadband and Telecommunications a record-breaking $63 million. So you might think the FCC should be commended for putting a stop to such corruption, right? Well, not so fast.

    First off, American Broadband and Telecommunications has claimed that they have mostly paid back the money that was inappropriately used. Secondly, this is the same Lifeline program that not only Ajit Pai drastically reduced but also wanted to take away from tribal lands before being blocked by the US Court of Appeals.

    While it may be the cynic in me, this so-called crackdown seems nothing more like a PR stunt in order to garner some positive press for the FCC who is in desperate need of some. Ajit Pai is no friend of the consumer. Time and time again, his edicts have only benefitted the giant communication companies like the one that used to pay his salary. Yet he has the nerve to get in front of the American public and act like has their best interest at heart while blatantly removing the protections that American consumers need.

     
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