CES 2016: Some Title II Foes Attack Wheeler in Vegas

Take Out Ad Comparing Him to Chinese Internet Officer

Protect Internet Freedom, a group that opposes how the FCC chose to do so in its new Open Internet rules, took out a full-page ad in the Las Vegas Review-Journal to make that point, and personally, on Wednesday (Jan. 6), the day FCC chairman Tom Wheeler was being interviewed at the CES show there.

The ad compared Wheeler statements about the Internet needing a referee, a comment he echoed in his CES interview with Consumer Technology Association president Gary Shapiro, to China's state Internet information officer, chief Lu Wei, and his alleged statements about needing both FCC openness and rules.

A PIF spokesperson said the group has 1.6 million members and described it as a grassroots non-profit.

Saying Chinese censorship of the Web is well known, the group asked, "How long until the FCC follows similar censorship practices now that it has declared the Internet a government regulated public utility," a reference to the decision to apply Title II common-carrier rules to Internet service providers for the first time.

Among PIF's other campaigns are against a planned handoff of U.S. oversight of domain naming to an international multistakeholder model and what it says is a Federal Election Commission attempt to regulate news sites like the Drudge Report, citing a comment by FCC commissioner Ajit Pai that net-neutrality regulations would eventually extend to Internet content and the edge.

Wheeler also said at CES that that was not going to happen. "We do not extend our authority to edge providers," he said.