FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Cancels His CES Keynote for the Second Year In a Row

FCC chairman Ajit Pai

FCC chairman Ajit Pai

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is kicking off in Las Vegas next week minus a few U.S. government attendees.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was scheduled to make an appearance but has canceled for the second year in a row.

The Chairman and Commissioner Brendan Carr both canceled their plans due to the partial government shutdown. Carr was supposed to take part in a roundtable to discuss 5G, privacy issues, and other topics.  Unfortunately, both are members of a U.S. government that has now proven to be dysfunctional, with an impasse over Trump’s border wall prompting the shutdown.

Pai’s session with moderator Gary Shapiro would have focused on the challenges the FCC faces in a rapidly changing technological landscape.

Ajit Pai canceled his appearance last year due to safety concerns.  Pai was instrumental in the FCC repealing net neutrality. Shortly after the repeal, he began receiving death threats.

According ot rumors, federal law enforcement officials stepped in to cancel the appearance because of those threats.  CES, a densely-crowded event, would require intense military protection to prevent against any attempted assassination.

Despite the repeal of net neutrality, the FCC’s decision is being challenged in court.

With the government shutdown continuing, most of the FCC’s operations have been suspended. Several services are unavailable until funding is granted. The FCC will not hear consumer complaints nor will they perform consumer protection actions. Licensing services have also been ceased until funding is approved.

CES acknowledged that some of its government speakers were forced to cancel their appearances over the shutdown.  Both of the FCC events have been removed from the official schedule, with others getting nixed.

More than 800,000 federal employees are affected by the government shutdown. CES 2018 begins on January 8th and will last through the 11th. Pai’s appearance was scheduled for opening day.