Dead People Mysteriously Support The FCC's Attack On Net Neutrality

from the something-shady-goin'-on dept

We’ve noted for months how an unknown party has been using bots to bombard the FCC website with entirely bogus support for the agency’s planned attack on net neutrality. Inquiries so far have indicated that whatever group or individual is behind the fake support used a bot that automatically pulled names — in alphabetical order — from a compromised database of some kind. Earlier this year one reporter actually managed to track down some of these folks — who say they never filed such comments or in many instances had no idea what net neutrality even is.

Earlier this year, some reporters discovered that some of the biggest fans of the FCC’s myopic assault on net neutrality appear to be dead:

“As the war over the fate of America’s free and open internet lumbers on, it appears that opponents of net neutrality will do anything in their power to turn control of the internet over to massive telecom companies?including committing fraud. As detailed in a letter sent to the FCC Thursday morning, people are pissed that their personal information was used without their knowledge to post anti-net neutrality comments to the FCC’s website, which includes at least two people who are recently deceased.

Others have since continued to dig through the names used to support Ajit Pai’s attack on net neutrality — and continue to find that many of them had never visited the FCC website, had no idea what net neutrality is, or were no longer breathing. Like John Skalski of Sharpsburg, Georgia — who back in May purportedly submitted this (factually incorrect) comment to the FCC comment proceeding. Note its content is different from the bot-generated comments that had been methodically submitted already:

Which is interesting because John is, well, dead:

“However, if you go to his house on 11 Tee Pee Row, you will unfortunately speak to a kind person who will tell you that John has been passed away since 2016 and no one else there has the same name. Unfortunately, that is a fake public comment. I found Mr. Skalski?s obituary later:

This is where we’ll remind you that the FCC has shown no interest whatsoever in investigating any of this. Similarly, when I contacted the agency to tell them someone else had written a fraudulent comment in my name supporting the attack on net neutrality, I was told there was simply nothing that could be done. Combined with the agency’s apparently fabricated DDoS attack, there’s more than a few indicators that the agency is eager to malign the integrity of the public feedback period in order to try and downplay the massive public backlash to its handout to the telecom industry.

Since the FCC is expected to unveil its full plan ahead of Thanksgiving for what will likely be a vote right before Christmas, contacting your lawmakers on this subject remains of utmost importance. Should the FCC decide to ignore the public and dismantle the protections anyway, it seems more than likely that this recent necromancy will play a starring role in the inevitable lawsuits to come.

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Comments on “Dead People Mysteriously Support The FCC's Attack On Net Neutrality”

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97 Comments
MyNameHere (profile) says:

I think much of this traces back to a simple problem: There is no real “anti net neutrality” crusade. Outside of people who support NN, there really isn’t much else in the population one way or another. Quite simply, it’s not a hot button issue beyond the raving hardcore.

We do know that the vast majority of comments received by the FCC are in support of NN. We also know that the total count of comments doesn’t reach 1% of the population.

Considering how sloppy a job someone did one trying to spike the results, I would guess it’s actually a NN supporter trying to create an easily defeatable strawman. I say this only because the comments were spotted so quickly, and denounced widely but only on the usual NN support sites and such.

The actual shut down of the comment system following the TV exposure on the subject has gotten way more coverage from the more mainstream sites. Perhaps they are better as spotting the obvious scam and avoiding it.

DvSDee (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Are you really that naive? A lot of places around the World are mad at the USA for a lot more then just freedoms America has killed thousands upon thousands of innocent people in the name of Capitalism and the “American way” some don’t like goes around the world trying to police everyone and dominate everyone there are American bases all over the world. I’m not condoning it at all I just think there is a lot more to it then them being angry at your freedoms. I live in Canada do you see anyone burning Canadian flags on TV? not really don’t you think there is a reason for that?

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 "Lying"

Which part do you think is the lie, that the US massacres in the name of capitalism and the American way?

Because the US routinely massacres people by the thousands. The drone strike programs alone kill more innocent civilians than all the guns in the US.

If we count US military action in the 20th century and Operation Iraqi freedom, victims of the US amount in the millions. In fact, according to Osama Bin Laden, that was why he orchestrated the 9/11 attacks. That was his Doolittle Raid.

Truth is often horrific.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’ve gotta say, watching you try to brush this aside never ceases to be amusing, and your conspiracy theory about how it’s really a pro-network neutrality group spamming the system with anti-network neutrality comments simply because they were so incompetent just adds a nice cherry on the cake.

I say this only because the comments were spotted so quickly, and denounced widely but only on the usual NN support sites and such.

The actual shut down of the comment system following the TV exposure on the subject has gotten way more coverage from the more mainstream sites. Perhaps they are better as spotting the obvious scam and avoiding it.

Absolutely, it’s not like people/companies who support gutting the rules would have any reason to ignore the obvious fraud, that would just be silly.

MyNameHere (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I don’t brush it aside. It’s a very serious matter, not really because of the target as much as that someone clearly has a pretty huge (but somewhat out of date) database of people’s personal information.

I think it was very poorly done. If someone was trying to create the view of some sort of public uprising to support getting rid of Wheeler’s arbitrary rules, then they could have done a whole lot better. In fact, it’s so poorly done, that it looks more like a troll than an actual attempt to accomplish supporting the rollback.

That’s why I sort of conclude that it’s more of a trolling attempt. I think more so because the only people who latched onto it as “news” generally have been the NN supporter side. Nobody else seems to give a flying crap about it.

It was way too obvious, especially considering everyone knew up front it would be one of those million to one comment things, where all the comments come from the people actively concerned only. Spiking in thousands and thousands of similar / duplicate comments on the side that likely won’t get many comments is just so freaking obvious. It’s 4Chan stuff.

Machin Shin says:

Re: Re:

Yeah, most regular people don’t care. That is because most people don’t know what net neutrality even is.

That said, most people just want their devices to just work. Go ask anyone on the street if they would like the internet broken up like cable packages. Or if they would want to pay extra for video. I’m betting you will find very few people who want the world that lack of net neutrality will create.

In other words, most people don’t know or care because right now things work for the most part. Kill net neutrality and in a few years everyone will care, they will care very much. They still probably will not know what net neutrality is, they still won’t care. They will just know that something is broken and they will be mad about it.

MyNameHere (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

” Go ask anyone on the street if they would like the internet broken up like cable packages.”

Bit of a strawman argument, don’t you think? It’s not something that had come up in the US, and only seems to exist as an option in one place (portugal) on an ISP that doesn’t block stuff, just gives you MORE bandwidth for certain things if you pay.

Asking a question that creates fear will always get the response you want. That the you are creating fear by asking a poor, one sided question is of course, not good.

Scott says:

Re: Re: Re:

“It’s quite cheaper to bribe officials over there, so the end user prices can be lower.”

How does that make sense?
Which of these two scenarios seem more likely the result of bribery?
1. People in Area A supposedly enjoy fast internet speeds at a relatively cheap price.
2. A small number of internet providers in Area B split up Area B among themselves so that they don’t have to compete with each other. This lack of competition allows them to charge customers more while not being forced to waste profit on upgrading the infrastructure that would allow for faster speeds.

Vidiot (profile) says:

Influencing an FCC public comments proceeding… what a specific task to undertake. Wonder how you do that — is there a "dark directory" of proverbial bent-nosed paisans to call? Drop a note to Boris at the Villains, Thieves and Scoundrels Union?

But seriously… there’s a bunch of work needed to pull this off. It’s not just a random (obituary) database to seed the commenters’ name and address fields from; someone had to draft the nonsensical complaint text… and as I understand it, it wasn’t just a matter of a couple of boilerplate responses, although the content repeats. Some group put forward a significant chunk of change for these services… interfered with a Federal rulemaking process. Special prosecutor! (/s)

Disappointing, though, that they signed as dead people, instead of "Amanda Hugginkiss", "Heywood Yablowme" and "Mike Rotch".

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: So...

That is the plan after all…
No free will… lets see which ideas match up.

Ajit Pai
Regulation… whoops I went too far didn’t I? I can only say bad things about stuff TD community does not like. I am not allowed to pick on things they do like.

Anyways… whats the difference between his thralls and your thralls… neither has free will and that is the point right? No one should have any free will to do anything other than what you decide they should.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Shocking

No, you are just so stupid that you think anyone saying something you don’t like must be from the same jackass.

I am sure there is a name for the phenomenon where people seem to think that those whom agree with them are from the various multitudes, but those talking against them are obviously trolls switching their IP’s around just to fuck with you. There is no way someone would switch their IP’s around to agree with you, now would they?

So lets follow Occams Razor here… or as Ptolemy stated it… “We consider it a good principle to explain the phenomena by the simplest hypothesis possible”

the simple explanation is that your are an idiot.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Shocking

No, you are just so stupid that you think anyone saying something you don’t like must be from the same jackass.

I am sure there is a name for the phenomenon where people seem to think that those whom agree with them are from the various multitudes, but those talking against them are obviously trolls switching their IP’s around just to fuck with you. There is no way someone would switch their IP’s around to agree with you, now would they?

So lets follow Occams Razor here… or as Ptolemy stated it… “We consider it a good principle to explain the phenomena by the simplest hypothesis possible”

the simple explanation is that your are an idiot.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: To hold in higher esteem those who think alike.

Usually different people who share the same thought might express it differently, e.g. The last time we saw graveyard voting it was for a Democrat. or Registering dead people to vote is a tactic of the DNC.

But I know that Most dead people vote democrat, the first sentence of three posts from three alleged identities for me triggered the same thought three times: Most dead people don’t vote at all.

So I’m going to go with the evidence: three accounts, one troll, especially since it’s super easy to make an account.

nerd bert (profile) says:

Re: Re: Shocking

The idea that dead folks vote is particularly associated with races in Chicago (not without reason, I might add), and that vote is controlled/delivered by Democratic bosses. It predates the JFK election and has been a constant political meme for longer than I’ve been alive.

So yes, you are a humorless scold and your reaction shows the dire need for irony and sarcasm tags in html. This meme was the first thing I thought of when I saw the headline.

ECA (profile) says:

For all the.....

For all the Paper work the …
State
Feds
IRS
Social security
All agencies have on us..

I find that The companies that SELL me stuff can find me ALLOT quicker.
There are Data bases of Addresses…LEGAL ones, that DO EXIST, but the State dont even use them.
There are Data bases of ALMOST everyone, BUT, many states STILL do not link Birth/Death/other records TO YOU or your Social sec.
Social Sec. can monitor Lots of things, ONLY IF’ the employer Sends information INTO THE OFFICE..
Credit Bereau’s can LOCATE AND TELL you everything you have purchased and paid for…in the last 6 months, AND where you live..

Anyone understand this?

What would happen if..
All the info the corps and gov, HAVE were released, and ADD TO IT your medical info(yes they are being hacked also)..

How could all this be USED/ABUSED??
From the Idea that YOU NO LONGER HAVE SECRETS, to being TRACKED no matter WHERE you are(your cellphone can tell them), Blackmail, and knowing Where you shop..

Think about your SS#…xxx.xx.xxxx, is about 999,999,999, and after 1 billion people are born its obsolete..EXCEPT, each set of numbers has a meaning, from your birth location to the year you were born(if you didnt know).. How many numbers CAN you get..WELLL, its already obsolete, and there are PROBABLY 2-3 people with the SAME number..They rotate the numbers according to DATE/age(???)..

So how do you find/prove a person is DEAD?? by the SS#?? nope. Ever get MAIL for someone else??

Have fun folks..

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Re:

YEs..
Do it, encrypt all your Internet from every thing they do…
YOU CAN..but its the intersection of DOING IT/TURNING IT ON that you will be Unencoded.. Then you can randomize and do all you want..but they Track you from your NET CONNECTION to the encoding site..
Which is about $1000 worth of equipment OUTSIDe your house to READ your internet and computer input..

OTHER WISE..
Just TURN IT ALL OFF..

Comcast (profile) says:

Re: Re:

HEY REY, COMCAST HERE. HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR MIND ABOUT NET NEUTRALITY YET? DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN DOUBLE YOUR BANDWIDTH FOR ONLY EIGHT DOLLARS A MONTH WHEN YOU PURCHASE A FAMILY PHONE LINE BUNDLE?! LOOKING FORWARD TO HEARING BACK FROM YOU REY BUT IF NOT WE’LL JUST THROW TWITTER A COUPLE BUCKS SO WE CAN START TWEETING AT YOU AGAIN. THEY REALLY NEED THAT MONEY EVER SINCE RUSSIA CLOSED THAT CHECKBOOK. PLEASE ANSWER MY PHONE CALLS OR THEY’RE GONNA THROW MY FAMILY IN FRONT OF A TRAIN

SINCERELY,
CHINA

Michael Q. Rudnin (profile) says:

This is what corruption looks like.

I think that the republicans want to destroy net neutrality and they don’t care how they do it, corruption at the FCC be damned … `This is where we’ll remind you that the FCC has shown no interest whatsoever in investigating any of this. Similarly, when I contacted the agency to tell them someone else had written a fraudulent comment in my name supporting the attack on net neutrality, I was told there was simply nothing that could be done. Combined with the agency’s apparently fabricated DDoS attack, there’s more than a few indicators that the agency is eager to malign the integrity of the public feedback period in order to try and downplay the massive public backlash to its handout to the telecom industry.`

Meanwhile in Russia says:

They defintely read classic Russian literature!

It reminds me of the story I read in my high school literature class: the famous satire ‘Dead Souls’ by Nikolay Gogol. TL;DR: a hustler in the 19th century Russia (before the emancipation of the serfs) was paying local landowners for records of their dead serfs, so that he could increase his social status as a wealthy man with a lot of people serving him, and thus gets himself into lots of funny trouble. Those who did this definitely read this piece as well!

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