California man who sent death threats to Ajit Pai gets 20-month prison sentence – CNET

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai speaking at the National Press Club in October. 

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A man who sent emails threatening to kill the family of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has been sentenced to more than one and a half years in prison.

Markara Man, 33, of Norwalk, California, sent emails in late 2017 alleging that Pai had caused a minor’s suicide by repealing net neutrality regulations and threatening to kill Pai’s family, officials said.

He also sent an email containing an image of Pai and his family, officials said.

Man pleaded guilty to sending the emails in August. 

“Online threats of violence have real-world consequences,” G. Zachary Terwilliger, US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement on Friday. “Threatening to actually kill a federal official’s family because of a disagreement over policy is not only inexcusable, it is criminal.”

When traced by the FBI, the US Attorney’s Office said Man did a factory-reset on his cellphone before it was seized.

Net neutrality is the principle that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally, regardless of whether you’re checking Facebook, posting pictures to Instagram or streaming movies from Netflix or Amazon. It also means companies like AT&T, which bought Time Warner, or Comcast, which owns NBC Universal, can’t favor their own content over a competitor’s.

More than a year after the Republican-led FCC voted to repeal the Obama-era net neutrality protections, Democratic lawmakers in Washington are again pushing to restore them with the Save the Internet Act.

(If you’re in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741).

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