Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has a reputation as a nice guy who remembers co-workers’ birthdays and their children’s names.
After he was targeted by trolls on Twitter, he took it in good humor, participating in a video where he read and responded to “mean tweets.”
This is the man who could destroy the open internet.
Pai [pictured above], a 44-year-old Republican attorney, is spearheading the Trump administration’s regulatory roll-back of net neutrality protections.
Net neutrality, which some have described as the “first amendment of the internet,” is the idea that internet service providers (ISPs) treat everyone’s data equally — whether that’s an email from your mother, an episode of House of Cards on Netflix or a bank transfer. It means that cable ISPs such as Comcast, AT&T or Verizon don’t get to choose which data is sent more quickly and which sites get blocked or throttled based on which content providers pay a premium.
As the comedian John Oliver puts it: “ISPs should not be able to engage in any [misdeed]that limits or manipulates the choices you make online.”
In February 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to more strictly regulate ISPs and to enshrine in law the principles of net neutrality. The vote reclassified wireless and fixed-line broadband service providers as title II “common carriers?EU?, a public utility-type designation that gives the FCC the ability to set rates, open up access to competitors and more closely regulate the industry.
But Trump’s FCC, with Pai at the helm, wants to repeal the rules.
The son of Indian immigrants who came to the US to work as doctors in rural Kansas, Pai went to Harvard University, where he studied social studies before getting his law degree from the University of Chicago. Aside from his two years working as associate general counsel…