Pai, who championed a controversial proposal approved in December to reverse the Obama administration's net neutrality rules, has been the target of death threats in social media postings and harassing signs have been posted near his home.
Pai has previously said net neutrality were "a mistake" and he favoured a 'light touch" regime of regulation that would "not stifle innovation'. Despite all the protestations from ISPs previous year that they accepted net neutrality itself, it was the "1930s regulation" they couldn't stomach, Pai's combative move and his stated reasons for it, have shown this up for the lie it always was.
While Pai did not offer a reason for the cancellation and his office declined to offer any explanation, some commentators went "out on a limb" and suggested that the FCC chair bailed on the conference because "he would've gotten a lot of pointed questions". These attacks, under the guise of preserving a supposedly sacrosanct version of "net neutrality", ignore two inconvenient truths.
The sources didn't make public details about the threats, but they told Recode that "federal law enforcement had intervened in the matter".
Recently, Pai was forced to cut his speech on why he thinks repealing net neutrality rules is a good thing for consumers and the country because of a bomb threat at agency headquarters. Another change was made at the request of Republican FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly about the commission invoking authority from Section 218 or Title III of the Communications Act to enforce the transparency requirements. His name has become near-synonymous with the rollback of net neutrality protections of the internet, a decision that is unpopular among many consumers because of the power it gives internet service providers to create so-called "internet fast lanes", and to establish paid prioritization among companies that can afford it. Businesses could also be restricted in their use of some cloud services.
But the FCC vote does faces legal challenges, including one led by New York's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman.