from the shining-a-light dept.
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
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
The Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules will be no more in two months: The agency has taken the final step in removing the regulations from its rule book.
But that may not be the end of the story. Dozens of groups are expected to file lawsuits challenging the repeal, and Democrats in Congress will push to reverse the FCC's action.
On Thursday, the FCC published the final notice of the repeal in the Federal Register, which starts a 60-day clock until the rules are removed. The effective date for the repeal is April 23. The FCC voted to repeal the rules on Dec. 14.
Final Notice of Repeal: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/02/22/2018-03464/restoring-internet-freedom
US Officially Repeals Net Neutrality Rules
The net neutrality rules said companies had to treat all data equally.
Enacted in 2015, the rules sought to stop providers giving preferential treatment to sites and services that paid them to accelerate their data.
And critics fear repealing them may see consumers charged extra for anything more than the most basic service.
Public protests greeted the Federal Communications Commission's plan to end use of the rules, with many saying it could have an impact on free speech.
But, in December, the FCC voted to repeal the rules. And the regulations expired on Monday.
Oddly The Trump FCC Doesn't Much Want To Talk About Why It Made Up A DDOS Attack
Last week, e-mails obtained via FOIA request revealed that yes, FCC staffers routinely misled journalists in order to prop up this flimsy narrative, apparently in the belief they could conflate consumer outrage with criminal activity. The motive? It was likely for the same reason the FCC refused to do anything about the identity theft and bogus comments we witnessed during the repeal's open comment period: they wanted to try and downplay the massive, bipartisan public opposition to what the lion's share of Americans thought was an idiotic, corruption-fueled repeal of popular consumer protections.
[...] One of the FCC staffers accused of making false statements about the DDOS attack was recently departed FCC IT chief David Bray. Original reports stated that Bray and other staffers had been feeding this flimsy DDOS narrative to gullible reporters for years, then pointing to these inaccurate stories as "proof" the nonexistent attack occurred. Under fire in the wake of last week's report, Bray first doubled down on his claims, adding that the 2014 "attack" hadn't been publicized because former FCC boss Tom Wheeler covered it up. But Wheeler himself subsequently stated in a report late last week that this was unequivocally false:
"When I was in the greenroom waiting to come in here, I got an email from David Bray, who said 'I never said that you told us not to talk about this and to cover up,' which was the term that got used. Which of course is logical, because as the Gizmodo article that you referenced pointed out, A) FCC officials who were there at the time said it didn't happen, [and] B) the independent IT contractors that were hired said it didn't happen. So if it didn't happen it's hard to have a cover up for something that didn't happen."
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.
Submitted via IRC for BoyceMagooglyMonkey
After removing all duplicate and fake comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission last year, a Stanford researcher has found that 99.7 percent[pdf] of public comments—about 800,000 in all—were pro-net neutrality.
"With the fog of fraud and spam lifted from the comment corpus, lawmakers and their staff, journalists, interested citizens and policymakers can use these reports to better understand what Americans actually said about the repeal of net neutrality protections and why 800,000 Americans went further than just signing a petition for a redress of grievances by actually putting their concerns in their own words," Ryan Singel, a media and strategy fellow at Stanford University, wrote in a blog post Monday.
Federal Communications Chairman (FCC) Ajit Pai said it was a “fact” that there was Russian interference in the public comments ahead of its controversial net neutrality vote last year, amid sparring between another commissioner about a lawsuit the agency is in the midst of.
The admittance was made in response to a lawsuit filed by the New York Times, who requested access to records surrounding the public comments that they argued would “shed light to the extent to which Russian nationals and agents of the Russian government have interfered with the agency notice-and-comment process about a topic of extensive public interest.”
The public comments left ahead of the FCC’s net neutrality vote have been at the center of much scrutiny—with millions of fraudulent comments (including the names of dead people and current members of Congress) being used.
One recent study recently found that of the real comments, nearly 100 percent were made in favor of the FCC keeping the existing net neutrality rules.