from the public-servants-not-serving-the-public dept.
Common Dreams reports
Last Week Tonight host John Oliver on [May 7] issued another powerful rallying cry to save net neutrality protections, and, repeating the outcome of his 2014 plea, his viewers flooded the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) site, causing it to temporarily crash.
[...] Oliver said it's worth noting that [FCC Chairman Ajit] Pai is "a former lawyer for Verizon", a company which "won a lawsuit which meant that if the FCC wanted strong, enforceable protection, its only real option was to reclassify the ISPs, and yet he cheerily insists under questioning that there is just not evidence that cable companies were engaging in rampant wrongdoing".
"Title II is the most solid legal foundation we have right now for a strong, enforceable net neutrality protections", Oliver said, and urged "we, the people, [to] take this matter into our own hands".
To that end, Last Week Tonight bought the domain name gofccyourself.com, which redirects users to the official FCC page where open internet advocates can leave a comment and call for these protections to remain in place. (Oliver notes that it simplifies the commenting process the FCC "has made more difficult since three years ago".)
"Everyone needs to get involved. Comment now, and then maybe comment again when the FCC makes its proposal official. Even call you representative and your senators", Oliver urged.
So successful was the start of his campaign, according to Motherboard, that there was such a high volume of traffic flooding the Federal Communications Commission that the site temporarily went down. As of this writing, it is up and running again.
 The fcc.gov page is almost entirely behind scripts.
A bot is thought to be behind the posting of thousands of messages to the FCC's website, in an apparent attempt to influence the results of a public solicitation for feedback on net neutrality.
Late last month, FCC chairman Ajit Pai announced his agency's plans to roll back an Obama-era framework for net neutrality, which rule that internet providers must treat all internet content equally.
Since then, the FCC's public comments system has been flooded with a barrage of comments -- well over half-a-million responses at the time of writing -- in part thanks to comedian John Oliver raising the issue on his weekly show on Sunday.
[...] But a sizable portion of those comments are fake, and are repeating the same manufactured response again and again:
[...] "The unprecedented regulatory power the Obama Administration imposed on the internet is smothering innovation, damaging the American economy and obstructing job creation," the comment says. "I urge the Federal Communications Commission to end the bureaucratic regulatory overreach of the internet known as Title II and restore the bipartisan light-touch regulatory consensus that enabled the internet to flourish for more than 20 years."
NotSanguine called it! https://soylentnews.org/comments.pl?sid=19421&cid=506966
John M. Donnelly, a senior writer at CQ Roll Call, said he was trying to talk with FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly one-on-one after a news conference when two plainclothes guards pinned him against a wall with the backs of their bodies.
“Not only did they get in between me and O’Rielly but they put their shoulders together and simultaneously backed me up into the wall and pinned me to the wall for about 10 seconds just as I started to say, “Commissioner O’Rielly, I have a question,” Donnelly said Friday.
Donnelly said he was stopped long enough to allow O’Rielly to walk away.
Donnelly, who also happens to be chair of the National Press Club Press Freedom team, said he was then forced out of the building after being asked why he had not posed his question during the news conference.
O'Rielly apologized to Donnelly on Twitter, saying he didn't recognize Donnelly in the hallway. "I saw security put themselves between you, me and my staff. I didn't see anyone put a hand on you. I'm sorry this occurred."
Senators, including Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, are warning the Federal Communications Commission about its treatment of reporters after a CQ Roll Call reporter was manhandled Thursday.
“The Federal Communications Commission needs to take a hard look at why this happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again. As The Washington Post pointed out, it’s standard operating procedure for reporters to ask questions of public officials after meetings and news conferences,” the Iowa Republican said. “It happens all day, every day. There’s no good reason to put hands on a reporter who’s doing his or her job.”
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai acknowledged Monday that the FCC lied about its public comment system being taken down by a DDoS attack during the net neutrality repeal proceeding.
Pai blamed the spreading of false information on employees hired by the Obama administration and said that he isn't to blame because he "inherited... a culture" from "the prior Administration" that led to the spreading of false information. Pai wrote:
I am deeply disappointed that the FCC's former Chief Information Officer [David Bray], who was hired by the prior Administration and is no longer with the Commission, provided inaccurate information about this incident to me, my office, Congress, and the American people. This is completely unacceptable. I'm also disappointed that some working under the former CIO apparently either disagreed with the information that he was presenting or had questions about it, yet didn't feel comfortable communicating their concerns to me or my office."
Pai's admission came in a statement yesterday. "It has become clear that in addition to a flawed comment system, we inherited from the prior Administration a culture in which many members of the Commission's career IT staff were hesitant to express disagreement with the Commission's former CIO in front of FCC management," he also said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the use of stolen identities in public comments on the government's repeal of net neutrality rules, BuzzFeed News reported Saturday.
The investigation focuses on "whether crimes were committed when potentially millions of people's identities were posted to the FCC's website without their permission, falsely attributing to them opinions about net neutrality rules," the report said.
"Two organizations told BuzzFeed News, each on condition that they not be named, that the FBI delivered subpoenas to them related to the comments," BuzzFeed wrote.
The FBI subpoenas came a few days after similar subpoenas sent by NY AG Barbara Underwood in mid-October. Underwood "subpoenaed more than a dozen telecommunications trade groups, lobbying contractors, and Washington advocacy organizations," The New York Times reported in October.
Previously: John Oliver Leads Net Neutrality Defenders to Crash FCC Website. Again.
Bot Floods the FCC's Website with Anti-Net Neutrality Comments
FCC Officially Publishes Net Neutrality Repeal
U.S. Officially Repeals Net Neutrality Rules; FOIA Request Reveals Details of Bogus DDoS Attack
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Passes Blame Over Lying About Public Comment System Being DDoSed
99.7 Percent of Unique FCC Comments Favored Net Neutrality
Ajit Pai Admits Russia Interfered in Net Neutrality Process amid Lawsuit