A gentle reminder: wanting an open and free internet is cool. Making death threats against children because you are so mad about not having an open and free internet is not cool.
A net neutrality enthusiast who made death threats against the head of the Federal Communication Commission after the agency repealed federal regulations pleaded guilty on Friday to intimidating, interfering with, or retaliating against a federal official. He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on December 7.
On Tuesday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai thanked law enforcement for their hard work protecting him and his family.
“I am deeply grateful for all they have done to keep us safe,” Pai wrote in an official statement.
The FCC voted to repeal federal regulations on net neutrality last December. A few days later, Markara Man, a 33-year-old California man, sent three anonymous emails to Pai threatening him and his family from the account firstname.lastname@example.org, according to court documents.
The first email blamed Pai for the death of a child who had allegedly committed suicide due to the repeal of net neutrality regulations. According to court documents, the email included an apparent screengrab of a news report about the death, with an image of Pai eating popcorn superimposed on top of it. The email stated, “Their blood is forever on your hands.”
The second email listed the names and addresses of three preschools located around Arlington, Virginia, and stated, “I will find your children and I will kill them.” The final email had no message but attached a photo of Pai where you could see a framed photo of his family in the background.
Pai reported the emails and, with records provided by Google and Frontier Communications, the FBI was able to trace them to Man. When approached by law enforcement in May, Man admitted that he sent the emails because he was “angry” about the repeal of the net neutrality regulations and wanted to “scare” Chairman Pai.
“I was not really thinking,” Man told law enforcement, according to court documents. “I was just angry and frustrated.”
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