Man Arrested for Death Threats to FCC Chairman’s Family Over Net Neutrality in U.S.

Markara Man, a resident of Norwalk in California, was arrested after the FBI traced a series of threatening emails to his home.


A man was arrested in Los Angeles on June 29 for allegedly threatening to kill the family members of Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai over the U.S. government’s decision to repeal the net neutrality rules, the U.S. Justice Department said. Markara Man, 33, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, if convicted.

Man, a resident of Norwalk in California, was arrested after the FBI traced a series of threatening emails to his home, the Department of Justice said. Man allegedly sent three emails to Pai’s email accounts on or about Dec. 19 and 20, 2017, according to the court documents. While the first email accused Pai of being responsible for a child who had allegedly committed suicide because of the repeal of net neutrality regulations, the second email listed three locations in or around Arlington, where the family of the Indian-origin official lives. The third email did not contain any message, and instead included an image depicting Pai and, in the foreground and slightly out of focus, a framed photograph of him and his family, the Justice Department statement said.

Man admitted to the FBI in May that he had sent the email threatening Pai’s family because he was “angry” about the repeal of the net neutrality regulations and wanted to “scare” him.

One of the emails said, “I will find your children and I will kill them,” according to an FBI affidavit, reported.

Man said he used the email address in an effort to conceal his identity, and also because the user name sounded “tougher” and he wanted to “scare” Pai, New York Post reported officials as saying.

Man is charged with threatening to murder a member of the immediate family of a U.S. official with the intent to intimidate or interfere with such official while engaged in the performance of official duties, or with the intent to retaliate against such official on account of the performance of official duties.

Pai received a lot of backlash and threats online and otherwise for repealing net neutrality laws earlier this year, which even prompted him to strengthen security measures around his house.

The decision to dismantle the Obama-era net neutrality policy, which stipulated that all websites would have to be treated equally by Internet providers, was taken in December 2017, sparking much opposition from Democrats and other sections of the American society. The move came into effect in June 2018.

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