A 33-year-old resident of Norwalk, California, was arrested today for sending threatening emails to Federal Communications Commission chief Ajit Pai, according to the US Department of Justice. The threats sent by a person named Makara Man were mainly made in the second of three messages to Pai's official FCC e-mail accounts in late December, just days after the FCC lifted the protection of net neutrality.
The first e-mail allegedly accused Pai of causing a juvenile's suicide by his actions leading to the choice of net neutrality. The second email contained an explicit threat to members of Pai's family and a listing of three locations in and around Arlington, Virginia, where Pai is reportedly living. The third email allegedly contained a photo of Pai and a separate photo of Pai and his family.
According to the Justice Department, the FBI was following the e-mails in Man's house, where he confirmed he had sent the threats. He also confirmed his use of an e-mail alias, "Stubblemanliness@gmail.com", allegedly because the alias would make him appear "harder" according to the affidavit. Apparently, the man wanted to "scare" Pai because he was "angry" about lifting net neutrality, according to the affidavit.
The man is accused of threatening to have murdered a member of the family of an acting US official with the intention of interfering with the official's work and duties or retaliation against a US official for their specific work performance to threaten. The charge is a maximum of 1
With Pai's controversial net neutrality stance in December last year leading directly to a successful vote on the abolition of the Title II classification for Internet service providers, the chairman was heavily criticized online and offline. After the vote at the end of last year, Pai should appear in early January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. However, his appearance was discontinued because of death threats against him, Recode reported at that time.