FCC chairman calls off CES trip as security concerns arise
WASHINGTON - The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, will not be making a customary appearance at the annual CES event in Las Vegas, the agency said Thursday.
Pai canceled his plans because of security concerns, according to one agency official, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to speak more freely. It was not immediately clear what the nature of the concern was, and Hart declined to comment on “security measures or concerns.”
But one report on Thursday suggested Pai may have been moved to change his plans because of death threats he had received that were “linked specifically to the Vegas itinerary.” Pai has been a frequent target of hostility since he unveiled a proposal last year to deregulate the broadband industry by repealing the FCC’s net neutrality rules.
The decision by the FCC represents a break in precedent; the agency’s chairman typically participates in a keynote session at what is widely considered to be the world’s biggest technology conference of the year. In addition to giving companies an opportunity to show off new gadgets and services, the show packs its agenda with policy panels that frequently involve high-level lawmakers and regulators.
Three other FCC commissioners, as well as the acting chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, are still expected to attend next week’s event.
A spokesperson for the Consumer Technology Association, which hosts CES, declined to comment.