The FCC Insists It Can't Stop Impostors From Lying About My Views On Net Neutrality

from the simply-Comcastic dept

So we've been talking for months now about how the Trump FCC has quite intentionally turned a blind eye to fraudulent comments being posted to the agency's net neutrality proceeding, since the lion's share of these bogus comments support the agency's plan to gut the popular consumer protections. Numerous people say they've had their identities lifted by somebody that has used a bot to populate the agency's comment system with hundreds-of-thousands of fake comments supporting the telecom-industry backed effort. Calls by these folks (and a few Senators) for an investigation have been simply ignored.

I'm among the folks that had their identities used to generate bogus support for killing the rules. My case is, however, a bit more tailored and personal. Back in April, somebody posted this comment to the FCC comment system pretending to represent me and one of the websites I write for. In it, my obtuse doppleganger falsely claims I run an unlicensed political PAC, then proceeds to prattle through a series of repeatedly, painstakingly debunked claims about how the agency's arguably-modest rules somehow stifle investment, harm orphans, and damage the time-space continuum:

"I operate an unregistered PAC at DSLREPORTS.COM. We have found that the Obama administration's Title II order has diminished broadband investment, stifled innovation, and left American consumers potentially on the hook for a new broadband tax. Furthermore, under the Obama administration, the Wheeler FCC presided over a model whereby Internet competition has been stifled, and an unprecedented concentration of market power was allowed to occur with the Charter merger. Many unhappy users can attest to that on my political action website (DSLREPORTS.COM). I urge the Commission to roll back the failed Title II provisions and return the Internet to the people."

As somebody that has spent the better part of twenty years advocating for a healthy and open internet, this is obviously a little irritating, even if, by itself, I'm not egotistical enough to think it makes a difference one way or the other. But it is part of an over-arching and obvious trend at the FCC to try and dilute the value of public input on this proceeding, since they're well aware net neutrality has broad, bipartisan support (something yet another survey highlighted this week).

So, at the tail end of May I began filing complaints with the FCC's website administrators, and asking the agency's PR department to explain why they're doing nothing about the pile of bogus comments (some of which originate from dead people) spoiling what should be a simple democratic exercise. After repeated requests for comment, the agency said on June 2 that it had at least received my complaint, and would eventually get back to me. Another month passed -- and after several more prods this week I received this letter from G. Patrick Webre (pdf), acting chief of the FCC Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau.

While the letter contains numerous paragraphs, none of them actually say all that much -- except the part that tries to claim the agency is forbidden from somehow modifying or editing public proceeding comments:

Once filed in the FCC's rulemaking record, there are limits on the agency's ability to delete, change, or otherwise remove comments from the record. Doing so could undermine the FCC's ability to carry out its legal obligation, which is which is to respond to all significant issues raised in the proceeding.

To that end we continue to encourage you and all members of the public to submit comments to the FCC via ECFS (electronic comment filing system) that include accurate identifying information. This will ensure that the record reflects your views. You are welcome to include your correspondence on this matter -- including a statement that the comment you reference were not filed by you -- in ECFS for the public record.

While the FCC claims it faces "limits" on its ability to modify or delete comments, I've spoken to several former FCC staffers and one telecom industry lawyer unfamiliar with any such restrictions, especially when it applies to outright and obviously-fraudulent comments. A request to the FCC for a specific definition of these legal limits -- and a request for the IP address in question -- have yet to be responded to. The other problem is that the FCC is basically saying it doesn't care about any of this, informing users that have had their identities used to root against their own best self interests that they should just re-file new comments.

If you're thinking these comments don't really matter (which is clearly what the current FCC thinks), you'd be wrong. The 4 million comments filed during these rules' creation in 2015 helped shift former FCC Boss Tom Wheeler's thinking away from what would have originally been a potentially-legally unsupportable position, and toward classification of ISPs as common carriers under Title II. The comments also matter when it comes time to defend the policies in court, since they go a long way toward documenting whether the agency is actually supporting the public interest -- or just mindlessly being dictated to by deep pocketed incumbents.

In the broader context of the bogus bot issue -- we're at best witnessing outright apathy to identity theft and abuse of the FCC website -- and at worse an attempt to discredit legitimate opposition to FCC policy by effectively sanctioning fraudulent behavior. That's a curious policy decision for an FCC boss that has repeatedly claimed to be a stickler for professionalism and transparency. You have to think that if I began submitting copyright-violating missives -- or a hundred comments professing to be Ajit Pai or some other high-ranking FCC official -- the response would be notably...different.

And while the FCC may think it's immeasurably clever to quietly encourage illusory support for its attack on net neutrality, the agency's decision could prove problematic for it down the line.

After the public comment period, the agency is expected to vote again to finalizing dismantling the rules. After that will come the inevitable lawsuits by startups and consumer advocates. Pai and friends already faced a challenge in convincing the courts the broadband market changed substantively enough to warrant such a draconian and unpopular policy reversal. Now, net neutrality supporters may have some additional ammunition when it comes time to pointing out flaws in the FCC process, and how an agency that's supposed to represent the public interest -- pretty clearly doesn't.


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 1:40am

    No need for extremes

    You have to think that if I began submitting copyright-violating missives -- or a hundred comments professing to be Ajit Pai or some other high-ranking FCC official -- the response would be notably...different.

    You don't even need to go that far with hypotheticals. I imagine if the bot had been submitting pro-net neutrality comments they would have been all over it, and suddenly getting rid of fraudulent comments would have been not only possible but trivial, with Pai and others loudly decrying 'this blatant attempt to sway the FCC with comments that do not reflect the true will of the public.'

    Since the fraudulent comments are in favor of what they already plan on doing however their hands are tied and silence reigns supreme.

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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 3:39am

    (editing note which is which is in the quote)

    "Once filed in the FCC's rulemaking record, there are limits on the agency's ability to delete, change, or otherwise remove comments from the record. Doing so could undermine the FCC's ability to carry out its legal obligation, which is to respond to all significant issues raised in the proceeding."

    A significant issue that should be apparent is that this entire process has been undermined by "unknown" actors pushing the FCC to support a viewpoint that benefits corporate profits at the expense of citizens.

    The FCC is legally obligated to act in the interests of citizens, maybe they accidentally deleted that portion of their sacred rules they are using to protect bad actors tipping the scales to harm them.

    Comments have been flooded by supporting comments from people who submitted nothing themselves & even the dead have wifi so they could post the same talking points. Yet the only "investigation" into this matter was trying to claim that the people supporting the public over corporate profits had flooded the system.

    Dear FCC, my comment is stop being whores for corporations & remember what you're supposed to be doing.

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  • identicon
    David, 11 Jul 2017 @ 3:40am

    Don't be silly.

    Now, net neutrality supporters may have some additional ammunition when it comes time to pointing out flaws in the FCC process, and how an agency that's supposed to represent the people -- pretty clearly doesn't.

    Of course the FCC represents the people. It allowed for public comment and the majority of comments was for abolishing net neutrality. For every voting on the Internet, there will be a few occasional glitches not genuinely representing a person's opinion.

    But separating the votes into "more valid" and "less valid" votes would be a violation of the democratic principle. Just because a few million voters aren't as articulate as others and use identical words and likely originating IP addresses after unmasking does not mean that they aren't worthy of representation.

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    • identicon
      Hey David You Moron, 11 Jul 2017 @ 11:15am

      Re: Don't be silly.

      Fraudulent comments and blatant bot comments are NOT the majority of actual people... You must be a Comcast shill that wants to spread more FUD over the issue. Fucking pathetic.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Shawn, 11 Jul 2017 @ 11:48am

      Re: Don't be silly.

      Are you really repeating these lies with a straight face? Or are you being sarcastic?

      The issue is that *dead people* are being used to make comments, and *identity theft* is being used to make comments, on a very large scale. The identical phrasing is simply additional fish smell, it's not the core evidence.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        stderric (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 2:59pm

        Re: Re: Don't be silly.

        Just because a few million voters aren't as articulate as others and use identical words and likely originating IP addresses after unmasking does not mean that they aren't worthy of representation.

        I think this is a reference to spam/automation rather than to boilerplate shared by actual individual people, so I'm gonna bet on sarcasm.

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    • identicon
      Thad, 11 Jul 2017 @ 12:56pm

      Re: Don't be silly.

      For every voting on the Internet, there will be a few million occasional glitches not genuinely representing a person's opinion.

      Noticed a typo; fixed it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2017 @ 4:21pm

      Re: Don't be silly.

      How do you think that [https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/05/net-neutrality-comments-are-being-spammed-with-anti-oba ma-boilerplate/](128,000 completely identical comments) (and likely more) are "worthy of representation"? These are obviously fake. One person/group of people using others' identity without permission to say something on their behalf is absolutely a violation of the democratic principle as that person is over-representing his/herself. Similarly, if I hold a lottery and have everyone put their name in a hat, and then one person puts their name in 100 times, the rest of the people are not being properly represented. It would be very easy to remove comments that are 100% identical (especially if they were posted within a very similar timeframe or from the same IPs) and even if you take issue with that, there would in no way be anything wrong with removing comments if a person could provide proof of identity and state that they did not make a comment on the FCC page.

      My guess is that you don't believe what you said and that you are either just a troll or a shill, but either way it doesn't matter because unless a whole lot of fake identical comments keep appearing (which would probably just make things worse), supporters of net neutrality will continue to drown people like you out.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    SirWired (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 3:54am

    It's true that the quantity of comments is irrelevant

    The quantity of comments submitted (by either side) is irrelevant, except as to how they provide eventual talking points during speeches by congress-critters.

    The rulemaking process is not up for vote; the point of the comment period is not to solicit how many people feel like commenting; the point is to see if there is any information with which the rulemaking body was not aware. Comments that merely paraphrase a late-night comedy program don't get paid attention to, and neither are comments that parrot industry talking points.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 11 Jul 2017 @ 12:56pm

      Re: It's true that the quantity of comments is irrelevant

      Comments that merely paraphrase a late-night comedy program don't get paid attention to

      They sure did three years ago.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      stderric (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 3:05pm

      Re: It's true that the quantity of comments is irrelevant

      The rulemaking process is not up for vote;

      Of course not. It was up for sale.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2017 @ 3:57am

    Technical note

    Methods for detecting bot-submitted comments are well-known throughout the security community. If the FCC says it "can't" use those, then it is lying and/or incompetent. I think it's more likely that it "won't" use them because it suits the predetermined outcome better.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ThaumaTechnician (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 4:15am

    Arseholes! All of them!

    Clueless/lying politicians demand that cryptographers perform magic and defeat mathematical laws by creating mischief-proof crypto back doors, meanwhile they claim that it's impossible to perform standard, run-of-the-mill zombie hunting that's been standard practice as far back as at least the old BBS days.

    Well, nerd harder yourselves.

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  • icon
    Berenerd (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 4:21am

    It is funny how even the smallest of websites can do this now with little to no issues yet a government run job can't for the life of them figure out how to stop bots from posting.

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    • identicon
      David, 11 Jul 2017 @ 6:15am

      Re:

      If stopping bots from posting against net neutrality were an objective, Ajit could likely just order them stopped. Hit them in the paycheck.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    MyNameHere (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 4:31am

    Section 230

    Oh Karl, you have been bitten by section 230. The FCC has no obligation to remove the comments or to provide you any information regarding the poster. That is the nature of section 230 and websites.

    Also, consider that the comments made under your name may be a parody protected by the first amendment. Having them removed and blocking any future posting might be prior restaint. You certainly wouldn't want that to happen.

    Bottom line: Suck it up, buttercup. Enjoy your free speech, someone else clearly did!

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    • identicon
      James T, 11 Jul 2017 @ 4:39am

      Re: Section 230

      Actually you are wrong. Making false statements on the internet isn't a crime. Making false statements and misrepresenting the truth to the government has other laws, not related to Section 230 of the CDA.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Making_false_statements

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2017 @ 4:55am

        Re: Re: Section 230

        It must be very selectively enforced. Otherwise, I can think of some high-ranking politicians that would be in prison.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        MyNameHere (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 5:39am

        Re: Re: Section 230

        The point is with section 230 at play, the FCC has absolutely no responsibility because they are just an "innocent host" and nothing more. They didn't make the post. Moreover, they are under no obligation to provide information related to whoever might have made the post.

        Basically, the things that Techdirt so proudly stand for have bitten Karl in the ass.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2017 @ 5:58am

          Re: Re: Re: Section 230

          Except for the fact that these are clearly bots posing as people (both living AND dead) and copy-pasting the SAME comment.

          It's one thing to make false statements but it's another to impersonate someone else and then LIE to a government body which is what these bots are doing. Taking random names from a list and posing as them with a cookie-cutter comment.

          Section 230 has NOTHING to do with this because in this case it's kinda illegal to impersonate someone else and then lie to a regulating body.

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          • icon
            MyNameHere (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 6:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Section 230

            Yes, but section 230 means that (a) the FCC has no obligation to remove the comments from public view, and (b) the FCC normally should deny and refuse to provide any information that could lead to tracking down the source. After all, it's a form of free speech (parody).

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2017 @ 10:34am

          Re: Re: Re: Section 230

          You have no idea what you're talking about.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2017 @ 5:15am

      Re: Section 230

      Oh dear, wrong again. I suspect that you were rubbing yourself through your jorts in anticipation of you 500th post in a row that completely failed to make a valid point.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 5:37am

      Good to know

      So you're now on record as supporting section 230, asserting that it means a site/government agency is justified in refusing to identify the person who left a comment, even one where the one who made it is not the person they claimed to be and contains fraudulent and potential incriminating claims were they true('I operate an unregistered PAC...'), as well as justified in refusing to remove a comment under these conditions.

      You also seem to be expressing support of 'parody'(using a very lose definition of the word apparently) involving making claims/statements under someone else' name, and opposition to 'prior restraint' with regards to trying to shut that sort of thing down.

      Well, it's certainly nice to have your thoughts on the matter, and I'm sure you'll be completely consistent in your support of section 230, parody and prior restraint should those things come up in the future.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        MyNameHere (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 6:29am

        Re: Good to know

        No, not on the record as supporting it. Just laughing at Karl suddenly having to face the reality of a law that is entirely stacked against someone put in his position.

        Parody is one of those things. Considering how strident Karl is on one side of the situation, posting as him on the other side is pretty much a parody of his position. Again, I am mostly getting a chuckle out of using all of the excuses typically used around her to excuse all sorts of things you like, just to show you how it works when you are on the other side of the situation.

        My opinions remain unchanged: Section 230 is over broad, prior restraint shouldn't apply to unprotected speed, and parody is in the eye of the beholder.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2017 @ 8:48am

          Re: Re: Good to know

          Glad to know you're wrong for the long haul.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 1:45pm

          Re: Re: Good to know

          Boy you backed away from that one quick, funny that.

          As for the law, no, it's not applicable here, and there's nothing tying Karl pointing bogus comments out and the FCC claiming that they can't do anything with 230.

          230 means a site isn't to be held accountable for the posts of it's users. Karl didn't mention holding them accountable for the fraudulent comment, so that doesn't apply.

          230 means that a site can, if they so choose remove content without losing it's protections. That they refuse to doesn't change it either way, so again, doesn't apply.

          As for the parody angle, yeah, no. Your definition of parody is closer to fraud than parody, in that it's not someone pretending to be someone in order to poke fun at/mock/criticize them by taking their usual position to the extreme, but rather someone claiming, in a submission to a government agency, to be someone they are not, posting the exact opposite of their position.

          Would you still be claiming parody if someone using your name filed a comment to a government agency or other group that was in direct opposition to what your position was, and included a potentially defamatory(depends on whether or not 'operat[ing] an unregistered PAC' is an actual crime as to whether or not that would qualify) statement as part of it? Or would the fact that it happened to you suddenly cause it not to be quite so funny?

          I'm happy to say your attempt at a 'Gotcha!' is DOA thanks to the current situation having little to nothing to do with what you attempted to contrast it with.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            MyNameHere (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 4:22pm

            Re: Re: Re: Good to know

            No backing away, far from that. Rather, trying to correct your misunderstanding that laughing at someone from Techdirt suffering under section 230 means I somehow support it.

            Section 230 also means that they are under no obligation to remove the content short of a full court order, and moreover, they have no obligation to proving information on the person posting them either, so getting that court order would be all but impossible.

            Parody is a wide concept. Making fun of someone's extreme position by taking the opposite is pretty much classic parody. You have to remember that part of the humor in all of this is how quickly Techdirt tends to excuse almost everything as parody.

            Techdirt has a laundry list to excuse almost anything, so I am just applying them, and laughing when Karl finds himself locked in a legal dead end with pretty much no way to make it right. So yeah, it's a gotcha, which is the type of story Techdirt loves!

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 4:57pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Good to know

              No matter how many times you try to spin this as a 230 issue in an attempt to score your Gotcha it will not end up as one for the reasons I listed above.

              There is no 'they should be held liable', no 'They should be forced to remove it', no 'they should be forced to identify the one who posted it' or anything else along those lines; with the only one trying to make the situation out as such being you.

              As for your continued 'but it's parody' argument if you stretched that argument any thinner you'd be able to see daylight through it(the 'everything is always parody' strawman is already clearly visible), though by your argument I guess you would be okay if someone used your name to voice support for something you opposed, and made potentially defamatory statements in the process, so nice to know what you consider acceptable I guess.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                MyNameHere (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 8:04pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Good to know

                Section 230 protections are exactly that: They don't have to remove anything, they cannot be forced to remove anything short of a court order, and that court order will only come if Karl goes to court and gets an order against the person who posted it.

                The problem? Section 230 pops up again and says "and the FCC doesn't have to provide details of the user who posted". So now Karl can't even go to court to get an injunction because he can't get one against the FCC, they didn't post it.

                This, of course, is all in keeping with everything discussed here on Techdirt.

                As for parody, that is subject for a court of law. Of course, that would require that Karl first jump over all the ection 230 hurdles in his way, which might take a while. *snicker*

                I don't support defamatory statements. Stop trying to twist my words. I don't care about the message as posted one way or the other - only pointing out that it's legally about impossible for Karl to get rid of it because of all of the things Techdirt supports.

                Nice try through. You guys really can't handle when the shit lands on your side, can you?

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                • icon
                  That One Guy (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 9:33pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Good to know

                  And now for the million dollar question: Where did Karl say he planned to, or would even like to do any of that, such that 230 would be a problem for him or even relevant?

                  Because I just gave it another read and couldn't find any such language, and in fact the only person who seems to be making the argument that this is a 'Gotcha' moment because that dastardly 230 would prevent the comment from being ordered down and/or the one who made it unmasked is you.

                  If Karl had said he planned on forcing them to remove the content, hold them accountable for it, and/or unmask the one who made it you might have managed your gotcha. Since to the best of my understanding none of these are true your attempt at a 'hoist by his own petard' falls utterly flat.

                  I don't support defamatory statements.

                  And yet you do support someone claiming to be someone else to a government agency, posting claims that are in direct opposition to their position, and including a claim that could be defamatory by stating clearly that you think such qualifies as 'parody'. You'll have to forgive me if the distinction between the two is a little blurry, though if your intention was to clarify that you only support the first two and object to the third I could accept that, even if I don't agree with it.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2017 @ 8:31am

      Re: Section 230

      Would it be parody if someone used his identity to buy something that he would never buy? The argument for parody is very weak, while the argument for identity theft/fraud is strong. As has been pointed out before, combining legal and illegal activities does not make one immune from prosecution.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2017 @ 9:39am

      Re: Section 230

      Oh Karl, you have been bitten by section 230. The FCC has no obligation to remove the comments or to provide you any information regarding the poster. That is the nature of section 230 and websites.

      Nowhere does Karl suggest that there's a legal remedy to his situation, and thus Section 230 in this context makes no sense. He's not arguing that the FCC be forced to remove the comment. He's just arguing that they should CHOOSE to remove it, because it's in their own best interests (and, indeed, Section 230 protects them in making just such a determination). So, honestly, Section 230 supports Karl's argument and doesn't support yours at all.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jul 2017 @ 11:15am

      Re: Section 230

      Do you think anyone actually believes you are making this argument in good faith, or that you even believe what you're saying? Rarely have I seen a more obvious troll.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Avideogameplayer, 11 Jul 2017 @ 4:31am

    FCC: Lalalala...I can't hear you...*puts fingers in ears*...still can't hear you...

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2017 @ 4:45am

    "the bogus bot issue"

    We don't really expect the FCC to act against it's own bot, do we?

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  • icon
    Vidiot (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 4:48am

    Can't stop impostors from lying, eh? Good news!

    I live in the same region as the Verizon headquarters complex, and I'd like to claim that as member of law enforcement*, I have responded to complaints and found a Verizon executive, Mr. Ajit Pai, standing in a neighboring farmer's field, sans trousers, among some very nervous-looking sheep**.


    * - I'm not
    ** - I didn't

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    • icon
      Oblate (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 10:58am

      Let the Ajit-ation begin!

      I don't think you need to use the magic asterisks of deniability, as you already stated "I'd like to claim", which differentiates the following from a factual claim. For example:

      I'd like to claim that the sheep who saw Mr. Pai sans trousers seemed to relax, maybe even chuckled a bit, and went about their business unconcerned.

      Not having actually been there, I can't make such a claim even though I may think that's what would actually happen. If Mr. Pai is ever caught trying to "make the flock great again" then I'll be able to update my claim.

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  • icon
    stderric (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 4:56am

    And while the FCC may think it's immeasurably clever to quietly encourage illusory support for its attack on net neutrality, the agency's decision could prove problematic for it down the line.

    I'm pretty sure nobody in the current crew at the FCC cares about 'down the line,' as long as it's a day further down than their (next) retirement to the private sector.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2017 @ 4:59am

    So, if the FCC is willing to entertain the idea of dirty billiards, why not "the other side" as well?

    Clearly, *someone* needs to start looking at their own dedicated spam bot. It will be staunchly pro net neutrality.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      OldMugwump (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 5:09am

      Re: why not "the other side" as well?

      Sadly, this is probably the most insightful and practical response.

      It's likely the only way to get the FCC to address the issue.

      Altho, my understanding is that that process the FCC is supposed to follow is to address the content of the comments, not their number.

      That is, it's not a vote - how many people repeat the same position, or make the same points, isn't supposed to matter.

      Instead, the agency is supposed to address each unique point raised in comments. So that the technocrats can consider those points in making their wise decision.

      Ha.

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    • icon
      stderric (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 5:15am

      Re:

      I find it really odd that nobody's done this yet (not to get 'fake' support at this point, just to void the whole tainted system). Would somebody please tell John Oliver to take a five minute break from playing with Coal Boy to get this taken care of?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2017 @ 5:23am

    Awww yeah!... bring out the arsenal, boys... its a free for all

    Bot programmers, spammers, malicious script kiddies, those bastards who make browser toolbar installers, and even *gulp* 4-chan; It is time to engage and use your "talents" for something useful.
    Look in the corners of your hard drives for all the bots and spam tools you possess and start going at it.
    No repercussions (apparently) , You get to hit a government tool, and you might actually matter in a positive way for a change. The side that spams the most, wins!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2017 @ 7:00am

    Limits

    "...FCC claims it faces 'limits' on its ability to modify or delete comments..."

    Submit a painstakingly detailed pro-net-neutrality comment in the name of Ivanka Trump. Wait for it...see - you could hold your breath long enough for that comment to be deleted.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Christenson, 11 Jul 2017 @ 8:21am

      Re: Limits -- let's put words in Ajit Paj's mouth

      If the FCC can't do anything about falsely attributed comments, it's time to put just a few pro net-neutrality words into Ajit Paj's mouth, and submit them as comments from him.

      That will make the problem clear enough that it cannot be ignored.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2017 @ 11:29am

        Re: Re: Limits -- let's put words in Ajit Paj's mouth

        Actually,
        Why not to put words in the mouses of ALL US public figures
        starting by that of Donald Trump?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2017 @ 11:32am

          Re: Re: Re: Limits -- let's put words in Ajit Paj's mouth

          And then, one can alert the press that Donald Trump supports net-neutrality pointing to submission URL as proof

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2017 @ 7:59am

    strange that! it manages to remove posts about genuine grievances whenever it feels like it!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2017 @ 8:25am

    I assume the

    author agrees that the swamp needs to be drained.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TKnarr (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 9:30am

    We won't get the FCC to do anything thanks to Pai, but it's important to have this on the record. When it comes time for court challenges the FCC's going to wave the public comments to justify their decision as being in the public interest based on their expressed views, and being able to show that not only were those expressed views provably falsified to some unknown degree but the FCC knew they'd been falsified before they made their decision and before they used it in court. That's the kind of thing that can get a judge to order the FCC to re-evaluate the comments and possible order new commentary.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 11 Jul 2017 @ 1:01pm

      Re:

      Indeed. I think the fix is in and the vote is a foregone conclusion, but registering our opposition before the vote is useful for a number of reasons. One, as you say, is the inevitable court challenges. Another is that Pai and Trump won't be in office forever, and even if the Republican majority sticks around in Congress, sooner or later they'll have to face their constituents, and Capitol Hill is the only part of the country where net neutrality is a partisan issue.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Wolfie0827 (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 10:09am

    Odd, seems someone posted a comment back in May from me on net neutrality. I'm not as mad about it as could be, the comment is Pro-neutrality.

    But still a little miffed that someone else posted in my name.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Dan Audy (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 10:27pm

      Re:

      Unless you have a particularly unusual name, or there is other details that connect it to you, it probably is just someone who has the same name who, like almost everybody who isn't paid to believe otherwise, is pro net neutrality.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 10:45am

    STUPID things..

    After all these years, Statements that the Gov is costing to much, and CUTTING corners..
    Gives any/All of these agencies about enough ability to Scratch its own Butt.
    Concerns for PUBLIC safety, or Justice? GONE.
    3 agencies responsible for Food processing and handling from Farm to Store..Cant cover the job..they only cover 8% of anything.

    NOW the FCC has as much TEETH as a 7 year old playing a police officer.
    OH!! they want to take out Air traffic control and make it a Private company..
    For all the taxes we GIVE the Gov. to much is going to creating wars..Buying and Paying for development of Military goods..
    Our gov and the states have Paid/lowered Taxes so that the Internet could be expanded..and nothing is happening.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    McFortner (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 11:15am

    Only the very stupid, or very naive, would have believed that they would have payed any attention to the comments rather than just vote the way they wanted to in the first place.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 11 Jul 2017 @ 1:03pm

      Re:

      Only the very stupid, or very naive, would believe there's anybody in this comments section who wasn't already aware of that.

      As I've said (in this thread and elsewhere), there are reasons to speak up besides thinking it will sway Pai. Of course it won't. But this issue is a lot bigger than any one FCC vote.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    goonierag, 11 Jul 2017 @ 11:44am

    false comments

    I think a good class action lawyer should go after the fcc and sue them for letting peoples private information be posted where everybody can see it. When they didn't post it. Isn't there a law about right to privacy and false informaation posting. I also think since pai refuses to remove them ones the judge should say he is the one that is reponsible for monetory damages.
    Then when his work for the cable and telco's would hurt him where the hurt needs to be. I say the cable and telco's cause the fcc is not working for the people it is suppose to be working for.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2017 @ 12:47pm

    So in the interest of this political topic, policy is being made based on public input. This seems like it's on the line of being voter fraud. Any chance that line would get the FBI to care?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2017 @ 1:24pm

    Government replacement for wikileaks

    Finally there's an alternative to wikileaks. You can post information anonymously and it becomes irrevocably recorded in the public record. Thanks, FCC!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whoever, 11 Jul 2017 @ 2:08pm

    Doesn't matter

    If you're thinking these comments don't really matter (which is clearly what the current FCC thinks), you'd be wrong. The 4 million comments filed during these rules' creation in 2015 helped shift former FCC Boss Tom Wheeler's thinking away from what would have originally been a potentially-legally unsupportable position, and toward classification of ISPs as common carriers under Title II.

    We live in different times now. Pai doesn't care what the comments say. Heck, I would not be surprised if he has discussed the fake comment spamming with his buddies at Verizon in advance of it happening.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 2:57pm

      For the short term, no

      He doesn't care, no, to the point where I feel safe in saying that even if every single person in the US who could submit a comment did, and did so in favor of the current rules it wouldn't change his mind in the slightest.

      However, having a large number of comments from the public openly against his planned actions, as well as evidence of indifference towards fraudulent comments in favor of his planned change could be useful in the future, whether during court battles as he tries to argue that he's doing this 'on behalf of the public', to combat any attempt to defend his actions via the same argument, or in other ways.

      He may be dead-set and have already decided what he's going to do, with the 'I want to hear from the public' a blatant farce such that voicing opposition isn't likely to do anything in the short term, but long term it can still be valuable to do so.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    McGyver (profile), 11 Jul 2017 @ 4:02pm

    Pai knows who is behind this, he is committing fraud and excepting bribes from the ISPs and others in one way or another.
    You would have to be blind and stupid to not see how corrupt and ingenious this clown is.
    It's really sad that this is what passes for government at this point.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    clemahieu (profile), 12 Jul 2017 @ 9:54pm

    .

    From my perspective: complaining about trolls really shows how little experience you have with the internet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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