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Three days after a We The People petition was created calling for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to resign for his desire to repeal net neutrality, nearly 60,000 people have signed it as of this writing. That means the petition is about 60 percent of the way to its end goal of 100,000— theoretically, the White House would then give an official response.
As the petition’s creator, G.S., wrote, “We the people have identified FCC Chairman Ajit Varadaraj Pai as a threat to our freedoms due to his call to repeal Net Neutrality. We passionately call upon the white house for the immediate removal of FCC Chairman Ajit Varadaraj Pai from office for his actions.”
Pai wants the FCC to vote next month on whether to repeal net neutrality, which mandates that internet service providers (ISPs) treat equally all the data that’s delivered to customers. Critics of Pai say repealing net neutrality would allow ISPs to slow down or block whatever websites they want and create a tiered payment system that would cost internet users much more money.
But those who favor a free and open internet have pushed back on Pai, and Maine Sen. Susan Collins became the first GOP senator to signal her approval of net neutrality, as her spokesperson said, “Internet providers must not manage their system in an anti-competitive way that limits consumers’ choices.”
Of course, the petition is more symbolic than useful. After all, a petition demanding that Trump release his tax returns earlier this year hit 100,000 signatures in less than 24 hours (more than 1.1 million people eventually signed). Trump has not done so. In fact, it doesn’t seem as if the administration is responding at all to petitions who reach more than 100,000.
Assuming this Pai petition gets to its goal—it has until Dec. 23 to hit the 100,000 number—it’s also doubtful the White House would ask him to quit.
But with the news that the FCC ignored an investigation looking into fake anti-net neutrality comments, at least those who want those rules to remain in place are making their voices heard.
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.