Net neutrality foe: The FCC is like China

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As the technology industry descends on Las Vegas for the annual CES conference, one net neutrality opponent is running a full-page ad in a local newspaper comparing the head of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to Chinese Internet regulators. 

The group Protect Internet Freedom took out a full-page ad in the Las Vegas Review-Journal with the title: “The Internet, great minds think alike.”

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The words sit above the silhouetted faces of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and China’s Lu Wei, the head of that country’s Internet regulation. 

Wheeler is scheduled to speak in Las Vegas at the tech conference, along with a number of other industry and government officials.  

Internet service providers and Republicans are opposed the FCC’s net neutrality rules, which reclassified Internet providers as "common carriers," giving the agency more authority over their actions.

The stricter regulations were meant to prevent companies such as Comcast or AT&T from prioritizing one type of Internet traffic above another. The rules are being challenged in court. 

Critics believe the rules have the potential to stifle innovation and set a bad precedent for other countries around the world. But advocates believe the rules enshrine a long-held principle that says all Internet traffic should be treated equally. 

Wheeler used the CES conference last year to give the first hint that he was planning to issue the tough new rules.  

The group Protect Internet Freedom sprung up early last year to oppose the plan with a headline-grabbing porn parody that warned of the FCC’s rules. The group also previously helped organize letters from a number of senators, including Sens. Ben Sasse (Neb.), Rand PaulRand PaulHow low is the bar for presidential candidates, anyway? Lawmaker seeks to investigate Obama's foreign tax compliance law Funding bill rejected as shutdown nears MORE (Ky.) and Mike LeeMike LeeICANN is already under foreign government influence: the proof is in the pudding Senators express 'grave concerns' about ObamaCare 'bailout' Funding bill rejected as shutdown nears MORE (Utah), trying to mobilize opposition to the FCC’s net neutrality rules.