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Internet Activists Urge Congress to Fire Trump's FCC Chief Ajit Pai

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2017-09-29 21:25
Open internet advocates and Democratic lawmakers are mounting a last-ditch effort to remove Federal Communications Commission chief Ajit Pai over his anti-net neutrality stance, just days before Pai is set to be approved by the Senate for a new term. From a report: Since being elevated by President Trump to lead the FCC in January, Pai has become the bete noire of open internet advocates for a variety of anti-consumer actions, but none more so than his crusade to kill federal rules protecting net neutrality, the principle that all internet content should be equally accessible to consumers. [...] During a blistering floor speech on Thursday, Sen. Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat, portrayed Pai, a Republican former Verizon lawyer, as an industry stooge who has worked relentlessly to deliver gift after gift to the nation's largest broadband companies. "Mr. Pai has a long track record of putting big cable before consumers, big corporations above small businesses, and pay-to-play over the free and open internet," Wyden wrote in a blog post accompanying his speech. Free Press, a DC-based public interest group, has also launched a campaign to pressure the Senate to "fire Pai," citing his proposal to kill the FCC's net neutrality policy and other anti-consumer actions. But if reconfirmed, Pai is expected to try to ram through his plan to torpedo the FCC's net neutrality rules before the end of the year. "Rehiring Pai to head the agency that oversees US communications policies would be a boon for the phone and cable companies he eagerly serves," Tim Karr, Free Press Senior Director of Strategy, wrote in a blog post.

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What Isn't Telegram Saying About Its Connections To the Kremlin?

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2017-09-29 20:48
The supposedly secure messaging app Telegram has employees in St. Petersburg in the same building as Kremlin-influenced social network VK, news outlet the Outline reported on Friday citing multiple sources. William Turton, reporting for The Outline: Anton Rozenberg, a software developer and former employee of Telegram's parent company, is saying that there are Telegram employees working out of the historic Singer House in St. Petersburg, Russia's former imperial capital, a claim that has since been corroborated by others. That's significant because the Singer House is also home to VK, which is now owned by the oligarch and Putin ally Alisher Usmanov. (It's also the building where in 2012 Durov and coworkers infamously folded 5,000 ruble notes, worth about $150 each, into paper airplanes and threw them out the window, sparking violence in the street below.) The revelation casts doubt on Durov, who denies Telegram has an office in Russia, and continues to style himself as a rebel at odds with the complex Russian power structure that includes the government and oligarchy. It also raises questions about how safe Telegram is from Kremlin interference, given that VK is owned by a Kremlin sympathizer and that the Kremlin has an obvious interest in monitoring and controlling popular social networks. "As a security specialist, I have some questions about how their office isn't physically protected from the offices that surround it," Rozenberg told The Outline. "VK employees, for a long time, have had access to Telegram offices."

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