Months Later, And People Are Still Discovering Their Dead Loved Ones Were Used To Support Killing Net Neutrality

from the disinformation-nation dept

By now we've well-established that the FCC's attempt to repeal net neutrality rules has been rife with fraud. From fake DDOS attacks to bogus comments during the open comment period, there was a fairly obvious effort made by the FCC and a mysterious ally (gosh, who benefits?) to downplay massive public opposition to the plan. And while the FCC has completely blocked law enforcement investigations into which group was behind these efforts, you can expect significantly more details to emerge during the court battles in the new year.

That said, nearly four months have passed since the FCC closed its public comment period, and we're still finding new instances of identity theft, or cases where a dead loved one's identity was used to justify the FCC's blatant handout to telecom duopolies. For example, the brother of Stranger Things star Sean Astin posted on Twitter that their dead mother's identity had been used to help kill net neutrality:

Many folks are only now understanding the scope of the fraud thanks to this tool provided by the New York Attorney General's office, which is investigating the fraud. Unsurprisingly, folks that have discovered their dead loved ones are being used as political props to help Comcast aren't particularly happy about it:

Even Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley says his name was used by the hackers to falsely support killing net neutrality:

And do you know what the Trump FCC is doing about this? Bupkis. Nothing. Zero. It's fairly clear by now that the goal all along was to undermine public trust in the integrity of the comment period in the hopes of downplaying legitimate public opposition to the repeal. But if journalists, activists and citizens can obtain data tying the fraudulent comments to an ISP-funded organization, next year's court battle over the repeal could get very interesting, very quickly.


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  • identicon
    David, 26 Dec 2017 @ 6:39am

    I don't get the dead people.

    As any Jim Crow will be telling you, dead people tend to vote Democrat. Yet here they band together in order to repeal Net Neutrality.

    That makes no sense. Have their brains been eaten by worms?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Dec 2017 @ 8:30am

    Karl -- FYI, Mackenzie is Sean Astin's brother.

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

  • icon
    Berenerd (profile), 26 Dec 2017 @ 8:43am

    What I like is there are numerous posts with my name from different states but they all say the same thing (so far I found about 50 of them)

    "The Obama-era FCC regulations known as "Title II" enable the federal government to exert an extraordinary and unnecessary amount of regulatory control over the internet. This bureaucratic overreach impedes innovation, stifles investment and continues to create economic uncertainty for one of the largest sectors of the U.S. economy. I support Chairman Pai's proposal to roll back Title II and restore the sensible regulatory framework that enjoyed broad bipartisan consensus and enabled the internet to thrive for more than two decades. I strongly urge all of the FCC Commissioners to support the Chairman's proposal to repeal the harmful Title II internet takeover."

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Dec 2017 @ 8:55am

      Re:

      The best comment so far is from Barack Obama at the White House's address, copy+pasted the same "The Obama-Era FCC regulations" message as the rest.

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

    • icon
      Berenerd (profile), 26 Dec 2017 @ 8:57am

      Re:

      On a hunch, I also searched the last 2 towns I lived in, not my name but the town/state. 1 of the people listed is serving a 10 year prison sentence without access to the internet. It has only been 2 years, either he got out really early or he didn't actually post it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Dec 2017 @ 8:47am

    Forensic analysis of the data set?

    The names were gotten from somewhere. There should be a ton of entropy for determining the source of the data, provided it wasn't combined from multiple sources and randomized first. There is a chance at least. It would be interesting to compare the data to Congressional donor lists for example.

    The most obvious way to give the appearance of randomized sources would be to use dial up networking. Comments being low bandwidth. They probably would have turned off image loads if they were doing that to make it go faster, so that would leave a signature in the http logs. And if that is the case RADIUS login data can be correlated to phone bill data.

    Or even more likely, that the whole thing was done from the LAN by an employee. Fairly trivial if you know what you are doing and have access to a router on the web farm. Of course under those circumstances the address pool wouldn't conform to reality. ie. a lot of the sources of connections would actually be core equipment, and not end nodes. Again, a usable signature.

    So yeah, certainly there is a chance to find out who did it, if subpeona'd. But of course the FCC will just "loose" all the logs. Not that you'd find a federal judge that would contempt of court Ajit Pai if they did right?

    It was done by somebody. It was fraud. It is prosecutable. Let me guess... It was the RUSSIANS! Holy shit! We should nuke them.... (sorry just getting ahead of the trinity of cabal news)

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

    • identicon
      Adonymous Coward, 26 Dec 2017 @ 9:16am

      Re: Forensic analysis of the data set?

      Names could have been collated from the Social Security Death Index. Fiddle with those sets a bit and match the submission times to some order and we'd have it. There are quite a few places to grab dead folks data.

      Details of what's in the index left to the reader.

      cheers

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Dec 2017 @ 11:47am

      Re: Forensic analysis of the data set?

      "There should be a ton of entropy for determining the source of the data"

      I do not think that is a proper usage of the word "entropy". Typical use is related a measure of disorder. So, you see how this does not make sense?

      There should be a ton of disorder for determining the source of the data, provided it wasn't combined from multiple sources and randomized first.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Dec 2017 @ 8:52am

    Zombies all over! -- I've been watching the zombies of Techdirt.

    Here's a good one. After over FOUR years, this crawled out: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20171204/18102138740/where-credits-due-budweiser-goes-cool-fu nny-route-microbrewerys-dilly-dilly-craft-ipa.shtml#c146

    Later that same day (after 9 hours) made 4 more comments as if to "prove" isn't a zombie, explaining: "I'm an epiphenomenon of relatively few words."

    Of course, that's what any zombie would say, and who believes a zombie? (Techdirt fanboys do! And say "no one cares" about these ODD "accounts".)

    Doesn't explain the amazing memory / urge to recall a little-used account, its sign-in name and password, after 4 years.


    Anyhoo, that's my topical tie-in for ya. Flogging this now rotting horse isn't going to change anything. You can't even get fanboys to comment.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Dec 2017 @ 9:33am

      Re: Zombies all over! -- I've been watching the zombies of Techdirt.

      You're a punchline.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Dec 2017 @ 10:11am

      Re: Zombies all over! -- I've been watching the zombies of Techdirt.

      Flogging this now rotting horse isn't going to change anything.

      Glad to see you admit that your comments are as worthless as you are.

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

  • icon
    AJ (profile), 26 Dec 2017 @ 8:57am

    Obvious Fraud

    I just looked up my wife’s name (I had already reported the entries against mine) and I found at least 7 entries all with the “In 2015” text shown in the post and on the same 8/27 date but for different addresses across the US. There may be people with that name at those addresses but the chances of them *all* submitting the same text on the exact same date (even via some “press this button now” service) have to be effectively zero.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Dec 2017 @ 12:43pm

      Re: Obvious Fraud

      The chance of impersonaters is infinite. But the chance of the fraud getting consequences looks slim, since it seems FCC are cooperating just enough with law enforcement to avoid charges of "aiding and abetting" the frauds.

      There is something in the process and the FCC communication on this issue that should be extremely unsettling for anyone supporting a working democracy. Hopefully the courts will step up since his public comments are pushing a hypocricy on openness that is beyond mere incompetency.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 26 Dec 2017 @ 12:56pm

        Re: Re: Obvious Fraud

        But the chance of the fraud getting consequences looks slim, since it seems FCC are cooperating just enough with law enforcement to avoid charges of "aiding and abetting" the frauds.

        Are you sure about that? As far as I know their 'cooperation' has consisted of dead silence basically, and a refusal to do anything, such that evidence that they are in any way assisting any investigations into the fraudulent comments beyond 'No comment' statements would certainly be news to me.

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

  • identicon
    Iggy, 26 Dec 2017 @ 9:09am

    Well, lets see what happens now

    So here we are after the vote. Nobody is convinced repealing the rules is good. Everyone knows the Commissioners who voted for it are liars. The fraud is widely known. Republical bills to "compromise" on net neutrality are know to be phony and nobody seems to think oversize coffee cups and the harlem shake make corruption cool. So... lets see what happens now.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    its technoholic, 26 Dec 2017 @ 9:10am

    its technoholic

    that was silly

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Dec 2017 @ 9:26am

    Just searched a very uncommon last name

    Got back about 16 entries. All of the messages were against Title II. Notably the composition level for all of the messages was much higher than could be reasonably expected from a random sampling of the Republican base. Also notable was that two identities with the same last name but different first name, residing in different states, used exactly the same message verbatim.

    Man I would love to get a hold of that hard drive.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Dec 2017 @ 9:32am

    So how do we get a list of the IP addresses where all these fake ones came from? It would be nice to at least track it down to a particular company. Ajit Pai is more crooked than any politician.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Dec 2017 @ 9:52am

      Re:

      For the web submissions it's in the http logs. And a lot more. probably enough entropy to uniquely collate the messages to a single source machine. (which is probably already in a landfill) Google is good enough at that BTW to correlate user sessions even when they aren't logged in and are using a VPN. (another reason why VPN is not the solution)

      For email the SMTP logs and headers will have the data. A good sysadmin or db admin could generate a reasonably cogent report on the data in a few days to a week depending on the total size of the data set. And that is without having any training in computer forensics.

      So yeah. The evidence is/was there. Whether they've already committed felony destruction of evidence yet, remains to be seen.

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

    • identicon
      Iggy, 26 Dec 2017 @ 11:23am

      Re:

      I predict these server logs to have been "accidentally" lost when they are subpoena'd in the coming lawsuits

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 26 Dec 2017 @ 12:49pm

        Re: Re:

        Well of course.

        Per SOP regarding old data, to protect the privacy of those commenting, because the servers were needed for some special project that unfortunately was scrapped at the last minute, and because an intern who didn't quite know what he was doing yet accessed the servers, they were wiped off all evidence that could have been used to find out who was engaged in widespread fraud.

        Not intentionally in the least of course, it'll be a complete coincidence that nothing of value will be around should someone who actually wants to find those engaged in fraud comes looking and can't find anything.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 26 Dec 2017 @ 11:06am

    Iv tried to suggest that this is proof.

    Dont know how many know the background here..
    But Corps have had a few tricks going for them, over many years.

    When needed, they can display 1000's of Mails/Faxes to the people that are Supposed to be responsible.
    Any agency that needed data or Backup to WHAT the corps asked/requested or wanted DEREGULATED, they could send TONS of mail/data/... to the Congress and reps.

    WHICH was enough for these people...that a Corp would supply the DATA, and the Gov. had little to nothing to do.
    NOT EVEN TALK TO THE PEOPLE. or even send us a NOTE about what was/is going on..
    WE were REMOVED for our OWN JOB of helping and monitoring the country.

    I still say this is Proof that the corps have BACKDOORED and cheated us. When the FCC can get emails from 90% FAKE people..things JUST arnt right.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Dec 2017 @ 11:53am

    "Restoring Internet Freedom "

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

    Who comes up with these titles ... Sarah Huckabee Sanders?

    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), 26 Dec 2017 @ 4:11pm

    Should be "months later, 4Chan continues to give NN supporters a lame talking point".

    Karl, we get it, heard it, over and over again. Someone played a naughty trick. Got it.

    Noted.

    Move on.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Dec 2017 @ 5:39pm

      Re:

      Looks like someone's got a persistent O-face after Pai sucked off the right people to get what he wanted.

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

    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 26 Dec 2017 @ 7:15pm

      Re: Someone played a naughty trick. Got it. Noted. Move on.

      If only we could do that for all felonies, not just the ones you like ...

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

      • icon
        MyNameHere (profile), 26 Dec 2017 @ 11:13pm

        Re: Re: Someone played a naughty trick. Got it. Noted. Move on.

        If it's a felony, go after someone already. Repeating over and over again variations of "dead people submitted comments" isn't going anywhere.

        We know the story. What's next?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Dec 2017 @ 11:23pm

          Re: Re: Re: Someone played a naughty trick. Got it. Noted. Move on.

          If it's a copyright infringement, go after someone already. Unfortunately it seems that all Dallas Buyers Club is interested in is to throw subpoenas and fish for easy settlement money, and run when the judge asks embarrassing questions...

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2017 @ 7:51am

          Re: Re: Re: Someone played a naughty trick. Got it. Noted. Move on.

          "We know the story. What's next?"

          State of NY filing charges in federal court. (hopefully) At which point Pais lawyering skills will be called on.

          So the next round will be about the selection of court. Which I'm sure there will be some Congressional pressure to ensure the judge selected to try the case, is one of the ones that would throw his mother under the bus for the promise that he "might" be considered for SCOTUS when the next seat opens up.

          We know what happened. It is trivial to prove it. Whether the Federal courts are willing to hear the proof remains to be seen. More likely what happens is that Senate offers the state prosecutor a federal post, in quid pro quo for not prosecuting.

          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), 27 Dec 2017 @ 8:15am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Someone played a naughty trick. Got it. Noted. Move on.

            "State of NY filing charges in federal court."

            Against the FCC? For what? Malicious hosting of comments?

            You Techdirtians will need to be careful about the logical knots you have tied yourselves in.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2017 @ 10:40am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Someone played a naughty trick. Got it. Noted. Move on.

              Certainly they can file against the FCC. Federal courts have jurisdiction over criminal offenses perpetrated by federal employees. Many cased state vs. fed cases have been tried in the past, and generally these tend to be well argued cases.

              I don't know anything about the NY attorney general. I can only hope that he is the tenacious contankerous type who is actually looking for a result. It would be a disappointment if after all this he was just pissing in the feds lobster bisque to solicit favors.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Dec 2017 @ 9:29pm

      Re:

      You see, this is why nobody takes you seriously. You like to claim that you like due process and accountability, but when the police, the government choose to do things via underhanded means you sweep it under the carpet, and insist that everybody follow suit.

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

  • identicon
    GEMont, 27 Dec 2017 @ 9:45am

    Trump declares war on reality, justice and the America Dream.

    "But if journalists, activists and citizens can obtain data tying the fraudulent comments to an ISP-funded organization, NEXT YEAR'S court battle over the repeal could get very interesting, very quickly."

    Hmmmmm.... now what would a normal fascist, (corporate capitalist) cabal, masquerading as a government, do when caught red handed with its hand in the cookie jar and no way to fudge the evidence or witnesses?

    Oh yeah! The traditional gambit is to start a war big enough to make everyone "look over there", while the cabal "cleans" the playing field of witnesses and evidence, using the war-time legal system to commit these crimes at home with legal immunity from prosecution.

    Then they simply close all those embarrassing cases out of court by claiming they would jeopardize the "war effort".

    All of the Trumpettes woes - from Trump's Russian Connection, to his and his friend's exposed sexual hobbies, will be quickly put to rest, along with those who wanted to see justice done.

    Standard operating procedure really.

    Considering how many of the criminals in office support the Military Industrial Money Machine, it will likely be the only "diversion" they even consider because its the one that will make most of them many, many more millions of dollars.

    Looks like you're going back to war America. And soon.

    ===

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


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