Congress Pressures FCC Boss Over His Total Failure To Police Net Neutrality Comment Fraud

from the complete-non-transparency dept

By now it's pretty apparent that the FCC doesn't much want to talk about who was behind the numerous bogus comments that flooded the agency's net neutrality repeal proceeding. When I asked the FCC for help after someone lifted my identity to support repealing the rules, the FCC responded with the policy equivalent of a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Similarly, when New York Attorney General Eric Shneiderman approached the FCC looking for help identifying the culprit (9 requests over 5 months, he said in an open letter), the FCC blocked the investigation.

Most analysts believe the effort was a ham-fisted attempt to erode trust in the public comment proceeding in order to downplay massive public opposition to the FCC's plan (a tactic that has mysteriously plagued other government proceedings over the last year). The FCC could pretty quickly clear this all up by providing access to server logs and API key usage details to law enforcement. Its consistent refusal to do so quickly dismantles agency boss Ajit Pai's continued, breathless claims that he's a massive fan of transparency and would run a more transparent operation than his predecessor.

This week, members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce sent a letter to Pai again asking him to explain (pdf) why the FCC ignored the public and sat on its hands as millions of bogus comments (some of them from dead people) piled up. Included in the questions were inquiries regarding how the FCC (which says it ignored comments "devoid of substance") determined what public comments were worth paying attention to, if any:

"How were comments determined to be “devoid of substance”? How were others determined to “bear substantively” on the issue? What were the training methods and guidelines for staff making these determinations? How many staff hours were dedicated to this?"

Pai was also asked why he doesn't think helping law enforcement get to the bottom of the scandal is a good idea:

"Why has the FCC failed to cooperate with the NY attorney general’s investigation into potential identity theft?"

And why didn't the agency implement any kind of screening process to help ferret out bulk, bogus comments (many of which were submitted by a bot in purely alphabetical order):

"Why did the FCC choose to not implement any kind of identity verification in its comment platform? The FCC says it excluded comments that used fake names, but how was it determined which these were? And if it is known which comments used fake names, why were these comments not removed from the docket?

Of course like previous inquiries, Pai isn't likely to respond -- at least not with any answers that provide real meaning. Since ISPs have been obnoxiously successful falsely framing net neutrality as a partisan issue, and the letter sent to Pai consists largely of Democrats, it will be relatively easy to dismiss the inquiry as little more than partisan gamesmanship. You'd just have to ignore the fact that an open, healthy internet free of domination by telecom monopolies benefits everyone, or the fact that polls routinely show net neutrality has broad, bipartisan support.

It's not hard for the FCC to identify who was behind the effort, and given the attack only benefits either the telecom industry or the folks in the Trump administration pushing the repeal, the short list of culprits is arguably tiny. But while Pai apparently has zero interest in helping find out who was behind the disinformation campaign, it's likely additional details will emerge courtesy of the countless lawsuits currently heading the FCC's general direction.


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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 6:37am

    AND back to WHINING about the FCC and his "stolen identity" again! -- FCC comments are no more binding than those at Techdirt! Do you clowns change because of MY dissent? -- NO, you go off on same CRAZY themes OVER AND OVER.

    Sheesh.

    Can you truly not find ONE new topic, minion? It's FCC, Verizon, ATT, "cord cutting", and repeat.


    BTW: See Musk Broadband-From-Space plan backed by FCC Chair, if want to undermine Pai!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 6:46am

      Re: AND back to WHINING about the FCC and his "stolen identity" again! -- FCC comments are no more binding than those at Techdirt! Do you clowns change because of MY dissent? -- NO, you go off on same CRAZY themes OVER AND OVER.

      Are you for real?

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

    • identicon
      mcinsand, 15 Feb 2018 @ 6:49am

      Re: AND back to WHINING about the FCC and his "stolen identity" again! -- FCC comments are no more binding than those at Techdirt! Do you clowns change because of MY dissent? -- NO, you go off on same CRAZY themes OVER AND OVER.

      Why, you're absolutely correct, AC. Massive identity fraud, lack of a healthy competitive economy around a key national infrastructure (data), and anticompetitive legislation are trivial issues. Why didn't we see this before?

      /massive_sarc_flag

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 15 Feb 2018 @ 6:59am

        Re: Re: AND back to WHINING about the FCC and his "stolen identity" again! -- FCC comments are no more binding than those at Techdirt! Do you clowns change because of MY dissent? -- NO, you go off on same CRAZY themes OVER AND OVER.

        No, no don't you see? You only need to write one article on each subject. Ever. No new articles when new information comes out, no follow-up articles to confirm or deny whether predictions and concerns were correct. Certainly no new writing when congress gets involved. You only need to write one article in the lifetime of the issue. The man's a genius!

        /massive sarc in case anyone missed it

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

      • identicon
        out_of_the_blue, 15 Feb 2018 @ 6:59am

        Re: Re: AND back to WHINING about the FCC, fuck you very much for fining me. Clear Channel's a dear channel, so Howard Stern must go. Attorney General Ashcroft doesn't like strong words and so he's charging twice as much as all the drugs for Rush Limbaugh

        I am the "real" out_of_the_blue. I enjoy eating "Paint" chips!

        Every Nation eats the Paint chips it Deserves!

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 15 Feb 2018 @ 6:56am

      Re: AND back to WHINING about the FCC and his "stolen identity" again! -- FCC comments are no more binding than those at Techdirt! Do you clowns change because of MY dissent? -- NO, you go off on same CRAZY themes OVER AND OVER.

      The drip who constantly whines about what this site is writing about is attacking them for whining? You are a comedy treasure.

      "Can you truly not find ONE new topic"

      Can you?

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

      • identicon
        Thad, 15 Feb 2018 @ 7:02am

        Re: Re: AND back to WHINING about the FCC for proving that free speech just isn't free. Five thousand bucks a fuck, so I'm really out of luck; that's more than Heidi Fleiss was charging me.

        He can, but it usually involves ranting about the Jews.

        Sorry. "Globalists."

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

        • identicon
          Machin Shin, 15 Feb 2018 @ 7:46am

          Re: Re: Re: AND back to WHINING about the FCC for proving that free speech just isn't free. Five thousand bucks a fuck, so I'm really out of luck; that's more than Heidi Fleiss was charging me.

          I thought it was the "zionists" now, or was that between the "jews" and "globalists"?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 7:00am

      Re: AND back to WHINING about the FCC and his "stolen identity" again! -- FCC comments are no more binding than those at Techdirt! Do you clowns change because of MY dissent? -- NO, you go off on same CRAZY themes OVER AND OVER.

      You don't post dissent, you post spammy whiny nonsensical ramblings.

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

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 16 Feb 2018 @ 5:54am

        Re: Re: AND back to WHINING about the FCC and his "stolen identity" again! -- FCC comments are no more binding than those at Techdirt! Do you clowns change because of MY dissent? -- NO, you go off on same CRAZY themes OVER AND OVER.

        That's true. I've dissented a few times but I did it respectfully, laying out my reasons with evidence where applicable. What I don't do is spew out histrionic allegations and call people names. I also accept correction when some kind person points out an error instead of digging my heels in and repeating it over and over again. Facts trump opinions, even dearly held ones, where I'm concerned. I'm not aware of any of my posts ever having been hidden and if they ever were I wouldn't complain; it'd mean that at least five people thought I was spamming the thread. I would learn the lesson and move on.

        Finally, I use scraptivism here on TD from time to time; the trick is to be seen to be reasonable to avoid alienating potential allies. Blue, you have never been considered by any sane person to be reasonable.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 7:26am

      Re: AND back to WHINING about the FCC and his "stolen identity" again! -- FCC comments are no more binding than those at Techdirt! Do you clowns change because of MY dissent? -- NO, you go off on same CRAZY themes OVER AND OVER.

      This is a tech blog, all these subjects involve tech. If you don't like it, stop reading and commenting here.

      What does Musk's plan have to do with anything? If he is successful it will be a game changer in the ISP industry that may actually force them to play nice and compete or hemorrhage subscribers and money.

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

    • identicon
      Troy Wilson, 15 Feb 2018 @ 7:30am

      Re: AND back to WHINING about the FCC and his "stolen identity" again! -- FCC comments are no more binding than those at Techdirt! Do you clowns change because of MY dissent? -- NO, you go off on same CRAZY themes OVER AND OVER.

      Sooo, maybe you could just exercise a little free will and go hangout in a forum that more closely matches your interests.

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

    • icon
      ShadowNinja (profile), 15 Feb 2018 @ 9:19am

      Re: AND back to WHINING about the FCC and his "stolen identity" again! -- FCC comments are no more binding than those at Techdirt! Do you clowns change because of MY dissent? -- NO, you go off on same CRAZY themes OVER AND OVER.

      BTW: See Musk Broadband-From-Space plan backed by FCC Chair, if want to undermine Pai!

      Clearly you're a troll who either:

      1) Knows full well this would never work.

      or

      2) Are a complete idiot.

      For those less educated about the issues with Satellite Internet connection, the big problem is Latency.

      You might be able to download a ton of data really fast, but clicking on a link will take you several seconds for the site to load. Things like gaming, or live streaming, are completely impossible with that kind of lag.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 9:34am

        Re: Re: AND back to WHINING about the FCC and his "stolen identity" again! -- FCC comments are no more binding than those at Techdirt! Do you clowns change because of MY dissent? -- NO, you go off on same CRAZY themes OVER AND OVER.

        The AC is an idiot but Musk has stated users should see approximately 25ms - 35ms latency. That's comparable to most cable connections and some fiber.

        The reason for this is the altitude at which these satellites will operate, it's a far lower altitude which means less distance for the data to travel, which means lower latency.

        Here's a good link to read up on it: https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2018/02/spacexs-satellite-broadband-nears-fcc-approva l-and-first-test-launch/

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 1:55pm

        Re: Re: AND back to WHINING about the FCC and his "stolen identity" again! -- FCC comments are no more binding than those at Techdirt! Do you clowns change because of MY dissent? -- NO, you go off on same CRAZY themes OVER AND OVER.

        Existing satellite services get their high latencies from being run on geostationary birds, which take a while simply to get the radio signal out there and back. If you sent a ping over Iridium (the closest existing analogue of the OneWeb/Starlink type systems), you'd get RTTs far more comparable to terrestrial networks...

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

    • icon
      Mononymous Tim (profile), 15 Feb 2018 @ 1:54pm

      Re: AND back to WHINING about the FCC and his "stolen identity" again! -- FCC comments are no more binding than those at Techdirt! Do you clowns change because of MY dissent? -- NO, you go off on same CRAZY themes OVER AND OVER.

      You must be Ajit himself. Shut up, Ajit. You started this.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 6:46am

    Logs? What logs?

    The FCC could pretty quickly clear this all up by providing access to server logs and API key usage details to law enforcement.

    What do you want to bet that such logs have mysteriously vanished?

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

    • identicon
      Iggy, 15 Feb 2018 @ 7:33am

      Re: Logs? What logs?

      In a better world, this behavior would be called fraud, perjury, and obstruction of justice

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

      • icon
        TasMot (profile), 15 Feb 2018 @ 7:41am

        Re: Re: Logs? What logs?

        No, sorry, you are thinking of what happens in the low court. In the high court of "gov'ment impotent peoples", this will just blow over in time as the general masses get hosed over. There will never be any repercussions for the power brokers in the high court like Pai.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 15 Feb 2018 @ 3:35pm

      "How could we have Possibly known people might be interested in those?"

      Yeah, no bet. That would be like betting whether or not the sun will rise tomorrow. Much like it's possible that the sun might not rise, it's possible that the logs will still be around by the time any legal action reaches the point where they would be compelled to provide them.

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

  • identicon
    TDR, 15 Feb 2018 @ 6:52am

    Congress should just tell Pai either provide the logs and keys or lose his job, face charges, and have all of the FCC's actions over the past year immediately reversed. But that would require a spine, and last I looked, Congress was full of jellyfish.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 7:06am

      Re:

      Hahahahahaha. The whole point of the independant agency setup is that Pai gets to write the rules but is not subject to congressional control. The prez can unilaterally fire him (interestingly, there is no "for cause" protection for FCC commissioners), but congress would have to pass a lae and have trump sign it to do anything. Good luck with that. This is what you get with an arguably unconstitutional administrative state.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 7:23am

        Re: Re:

        We've been over this blue, it's not unconstitutional. Or do you expect the President and Congress to be subject matter experts in EVERY FIELD?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 7:43am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I not expect that at all, just like I would not expect the best potential presidential candidates to be natural born citizens, but that is the rule written in the constitution. Congress has the legislative power while the executive has the enforcementmoney power, and they cannot delegate their powers to the other branch, let alone some unaccountable quasi branch.

          Sadly, the window to kill the administrative state has probably closed, but I for one would love to see a crippled federal government unable to pass or implement complex nanny state laws due to its lack of "expertise".

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 7:49am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Oh I see, so you just want everything to go to hell in a handbasket then because no one in Congress understands the first thing about anything, especially technology, health and medicine, science, and economics and industry. Right, got it.

            No thanks. Regulatory agencies serve an important purpose and we would be far worse off without them. Or do you think the CDC shouldn't exist?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 7:42am

        Re: Pai is INDEPENDENT

        < "Hahahahahaha. The whole point of the independent agency setup is that Pai gets to write the rules"




        yes, exactly. FCC is officially independent of Congress and the President in day to day matters and rule making.

        Congress specifically designed things that way to enhance the power of independent regulatory agencies.

        Amazing that people who vigorously support federal regulation generally -- have no idea how it actually works in practice!

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 7:46am

          Re: Re: Pai is INDEPENDENT

          Nah, you misunderstand what blue is saying. He says independent agencies in general are unconstitutional and that Congress didn't and doesn't have the authority to create them and grant them rule making authority.

          He still doesn't understand law, history, or how the government actually works but you know, that stuff doesn't matter to him.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 8:07am

            Re: Re: Re: Pai is INDEPENDENT

            ...federal agencies that make/enforce laws ("rules/regulations") are indeed unconstitutional. All federal legislative powers reside in Congress alone. Congress can not constitutionally delegate its law-making authority to anyone else.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 8:26am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Pai is INDEPENDENT

              The founding fathers and the Constitution, specifically Article I, Section 8, disagree with you.

              Or are you going to argue that all of the agencies created during the first 100 years of America's existence somehow don't count?

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 9:26am

                Re: Pai is INDEPENDENT

                Nonsense

                There is absolutely nothing in Section 8 that contradicts the opening declaration of Article I:


                "Article I
                Section 1. All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.."

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 9:37am

                  Re: Re: Pai is INDEPENDENT

                  Not nonsense:

                  To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 11:39am

                    Re: Re: Re: Pai is INDEPENDENT

                    You also didn't answer my question.

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 1:09pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Pai is INDEPENDENT

                    Did you even read what you are cutting and pasting from? Section 1 vests legislative power in congress, a house and senate. Those are specifically defined in sections 2 and 3. Section 8 then says congress has.those powers you are blockquoting. Congress, a discrete, defined group comprising the house and the senate. Administrative agencies with their quasi executive/legislative roles are not included. There is no power for congress to delgate in the constitution.

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

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 2:37pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Pai is INDEPENDENT

                      I did read it actually.

                      Yes, it is vested in Congress but Section 8 allows Congress to pass a law creating a regulatory agency with a specific mandate, leaving the details of the mandate up to the agency. In addition, the agency cannot make any rules or regulations that supersede any laws passed by Congress or other agencies.

                      Nowhere in the Constitution does it prohibit Congress from delegating minor rule making and regulation to a created agency.

                      In fact, this was upheld in 1825 in the case of Wayman v. Southard. Also further supporting this is the fact that in the first 100 years of America's existence, multiple agencies were created with rule making and regulatory powers, some on the watch of our founding fathers.

                      If you don't like it, I suggest you take it up with the founding fathers. Especially since they are the ones who deliberately decided to NOT put in an Amendment to the Constitution that did specifically forbid such agencies. It was originally on the docket and they decided to strike it out.

                      I believe the founding fathers wisely foresaw that there may come a time when Congress wouldn't be able to handle all the enormous amount of details of regulating a country, nor would they be sufficiently knowledgeable in all areas to make good, informed decisions. As such they included Section 8 to cover anything else that may arise in those scenarios and others.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 3:34pm

                        Re: Pai is INDEPENDENT

                        <sigh> ...so all legislative power is vested in Congress "except" for that legislative power that Congress might wish to divest itself of ... to somebody else (?)

                        Why bother with a written constitution -- seem to be no limits on your subjective interpretations of expansive Congressional powers... Congress can just "legislate" whatever it wants.

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                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 4:18pm

                          Re: Re: Pai is INDEPENDENT

                          So what you're saying is you can't actually refute any of my facts so you're just going to reiterate points you've already made and make supposed attacks on my logic. :)

                          Also, don't put words in my mouth. I didn't say it could legislate whatever it wants. I said Section 8 gives them a tool to help them fulfill their legislative mandate by creating agencies to manage the details of the legislation they have passed.

                          For example, one of the FCC's mandates is to make sure that broadband continues to be deployed in a timely manner to the entire US. Congress doesn't know how to do that because they aren't expert matters in that area, but they know it needs to get done. So they create an agency with a general mandate to do it, then let the experts figure out the details. Those details can NEVER conflict with already prescribed law, so the agency and it's regulations are still subordinate to Congress.

                          Congress hasn't divested itself of anything, it still retains the power and authority to overrule any rule or regulation passed by said agency.

                          And all of this was put in and designed by the founding fathers and approved by the Supreme Court in subsequent cases in the years since. If you have some facts to contradict mine, by all means bring them and we can discuss them. So far you have brought nothing to the table other than faulty logic and a lack of knowledge of American history.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 10:49am

                  Re: Re: Pai is INDEPENDENT

                  So about that apology for being so very wrong...

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

      • identicon
        YaTOG, 15 Feb 2018 @ 7:58am

        Re: Re:

        There is one route open to fix this.
        FBI has requested information from Pai, he has refused to provide the information or access to allow the FBI to glean the information themselves.

        This is obstruction of a Federal investigation.
        Pai, and his co-conspirators, should be cooling his heels in prison already.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 7:19am

    regardless of the pressure Congress is putting on Pai, it isn't half enough! he has totally overstepped the mark in order to comply with the wishes of the likes of Comcast, Verizon etc and deserves to be sacked and then charged with corruption!!

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  • identicon
    David, 15 Feb 2018 @ 7:30am

    Red herring.

    But while Pai apparently has zero interest in helping find out who was behind the disinformation campaign,

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

  • identicon
    Iggy, 15 Feb 2018 @ 7:31am

    Finally asking the right questions

    These are good questions to ask. It's good that these questions are being asked. Even if they go nowhere, its important to establish the accountability we should expect from government agencies.

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

  • identicon
    David, 15 Feb 2018 @ 7:34am

    Red herring.

    But while Pai apparently has zero interest in helping find out who was behind the disinformation campaign,

    Don't you just hate it when trying to create a paragraph commits an unfinished comment?

    At any rate, isn't it obvious that Pai does not need "finding out" who was behind the disinformation campaign since he likely organized it to start with?

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

    • identicon
      Thad, 15 Feb 2018 @ 9:32am

      Re: Red herring.

      I really don't understand that theory.

      Why would he have done that? To what end? Assuming he organized it, what did he achieve that he would not have achieved if he hadn't?

      The "Pai is responsible for organizing the fraud" theory violates Occam's Razor.

      He clearly didn't put any effort into stopping it, or investigating it, because doing those things would disadvantage him. But I've seen no evidence that he's the guy who caused it in the first place.

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

      • icon
        LadyElisabeth (profile), 15 Feb 2018 @ 10:00am

        Re: Re: Red herring.

        Actually, there is evidence, a lot of it. You just have to know where to look and, of course, think.

        First off, the FCC repeatedly refused to cooperate with Schneiderman's investigation on not just the original 2 Million Incident, but also the PornHub Discovery. If he's innocent, why's he refusing to cooperate? What's he got to hide?

        Second, Jessica Rosenworcel, back in December, revealed that her own boss withheld evidence of fraud in the 2 Million Incident. Again, what's he hiding? Where there's smoke, there's fire.

        Third, the so-called DDoS attack last year. I say so-called because I'm of the mind that it never existed. I have proof, not just theories, to back that up.

        On Ars Technica articles, FOIA violations and transparency Act violations were filed against him for refusing to turn over documents regarding the "DDoS attack" last summer. They then say that "We don't have any documentation about the attack, we went by only real-time observations".

        Come on.

        This is the Federal COMMUNICATION Commission we're talking about, and they dare to say that "a DDoS attack" happened on their own website, "coincidentally" during the comment period for the Net Neutrality repeal? They would actually "forgo" or "forget" their own protocols for their own website during a so-called DDoS attack?

        If you want to buy that, I've got oceanfront property in the Sahara Desert I want to sell to people. I'll even throw in the Golden Gate Bridge and the London Thames for free.

        Come on people, THINK. If you take the time to actually think and remember what common sense is like, you'll realize exactly where all evidence is pointing.

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

        • identicon
          Thad, 15 Feb 2018 @ 11:06am

          Re: Re: Re: Red herring.

          None of those things is evidence.

          First off, the FCC repeatedly refused to cooperate with Schneiderman's investigation on not just the original 2 Million Incident, but also the PornHub Discovery. If he's innocent, why's he refusing to cooperate? What's he got to hide?

          That the vast majority of comments agreeing with him are fraudulent.

          Second, Jessica Rosenworcel, back in December, revealed that her own boss withheld evidence of fraud in the 2 Million Incident. Again, what's he hiding?

          That the vast majority of comments agreeing with him are fraudulent.

          Third, the so-called DDoS attack last year. I say so-called because I'm of the mind that it never existed. I have proof, not just theories, to back that up.

          I agree, but how is lying about a DDoS attack evidence that he orchestrated fraudulent comments?

          Come on people, THINK. If you take the time to actually think and remember what common sense is like, you'll realize exactly where all evidence is pointing.

          Again, not one single fact you've cited is evidence that Pai is personally responsible for the fraudulent comments.

          It's evidence that he didn't do anything to identify which comments were fraudulent, that he didn't do anything to try and stop them, and he's currently not doing anything to cooperate with government agencies investigating the issue. All that's true.

          But to go from there to "he made the comments himself" is a logical leap. It is not supported by the evidence. It is an assumption you are making.

          There are other, simpler explanations for why Pai doesn't want to call attention to the fraudulent comments. It undermines his case, and it makes him look bad. That's plenty of motivation for his stonewalling, without having to make up conspiracy theories.

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          • identicon
            Wendy Cockcroft, 16 Feb 2018 @ 6:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Red herring.

            What Thad says. [Thinking](http://on-t-internet.blogspot.co.uk/2018/02/do-you-really-think-for-yourself.html) about where the breadcrumb trail of facts leads + a bias against Pai for being a lying toerag => conspiracy theory.

            The difference between a conspiracy theory and a proven fact is evidence. What the evidence proves and what it merely suggests is possible are different things — that's how you got to that conclusion.

            It'd be funny if, later on, an incriminating email or something cropped up to prove you right. We could all have a laugh about it and you would totally be vindicated but until it does all we've got is Pai lying and refusing to cooperate because it suits his current position.

            For the moment, LadyElisabeth, let's withhold judgement until all the facts are in. I'm not mad about Pai either but I do believe in due process.

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

          • icon
            Toom1275 (profile), 16 Feb 2018 @ 6:58am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Red herring.

            While researching for a comment I made on this subject over at Ars some time ago, I looked into the way the API system (what was used to post the fake comments en masse) is handled.

            Every bulk comment submission (uploading a batch of comments in .csv format to the FCC comment site) requires a government API key from the source.

            The government API keys are handed out for free https://api.data.gov/signup/. There are four fields to fill:

            • First Name
            • Last Name
            • Email address
            • (optional) What do you plan on doing with the key?

            I don't see anything the site would do to verify the identity of anyone requesting a key.

            So unless the spammers used their real name and contact info in their application, or told Pai that they were going to do this, there's not much information the system has that would tie any comment to who made it, specifically.

            However- Unless the fakers registered for and used separate API keys for every bogus comment batch, then multiple batches of fakes would likely have been submitted under the same API key. If you can identify one batch of fake comments, then you can use the API key that sent it to search for other comments using that same key, which would most likely also be fake. While it may not identify spammers, it would be an easy way to verify fairly solidly which comments are fake.

            Which is reason enough for Pai to obstruct all attempts at independent and government investigators getting this info.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 7:42am

    In all fairness, I agree with Pai's "¯\_(ツ)_/¯" approach to the issue. What does it matter if there was massive fraud in the net neutrality comments? He was never going to pay attention to them anyway.

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

    • identicon
      Machin Shin, 15 Feb 2018 @ 7:53am

      Re:

      It matters because it is in a way proof that he wasn't going to pay attention to them. It also provides cover. If he rammed through this change with a massive trove of comments telling him the public was against the move he would face more heat. By allowing this disaster he can safely go "¯\_(ツ)_/¯"

      So basically, all his hopes ride on him having created enough of a smoke screen that he can slip out the back door and run away before any of this manages to blow up in his face. Any time spent trying to clear the smoke is time not spent looking into other matters.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 9:24am

      Re:

      Much like most Town Hall type get togethers, the venue is one sided, contrary opinions are limited in duration while being totally ignored and the outcome has been predetermined.

      The only reason to attend, I suppose, is to stop them from claiming that no one cares because they do not show up to the stupid waste of time Town Hall meetings.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 8:07am

    There's a good reason he doesn't care about comment fraud

    It's that the comments never mattered. He knew what the decision was going to be way before the comment period opened.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 9:30am

      Re: There's a good reason he doesn't care about comment fraud

      I've been saying the same thing for over a year. This was a done deal the day after the election. Pai has been paid off by Verizon and is no doubt taking bribes from others as well.

      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, 15 Feb 2018 @ 8:34am

    suckers

    it is all in the headline

    "Congress Pressures FCC Boss Over His Total Failure To Police
    Net Neutrality Comment Fraud"

    Congress Failed, and most of you idiots are buying it. Congress creates and uses these agencies to escape culpability. Notice how they are only just now throwing tantrums to trick you sucking into thinking they actually care.

    What a bunch of maroons!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 9:16am

      Re: suckers

      What exactly are we buying?

      I don't think anyone here has denied that this is a failure not only on the part of the FCC but also on Congress. Congress was responsible for the CRA that rolled back ISP privacy regulations after all.

      In your haste to whine and criticize this site and its readers, you have come up with a big fat nothingburger.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 9:25am

      Re: suckers

      Speak for yourself Biff.

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

  • identicon
    Thad, 15 Feb 2018 @ 11:07am

    Inspector General investigation

    I'm sure a Techdirt post on this is already imminent, but in the meantime:

    Ajit Pai faces investigation into moves that benefit Sinclair Broadcasting

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 15 Feb 2018 @ 3:01pm

    And now...

    For something completely different..
    And earnest, truthful, group of politicians, AND HIRED regulators..

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

  • identicon
    SilverBlade, 15 Feb 2018 @ 5:26pm

    Unless Congress has the ability to permanently restore Net Neutrality (to the point that the FCC can't reverse it), there's absolutely zero point to them doing this.

    Congress has to have the teeth, otherwise it's just a gesture.

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

    • identicon
      Thad, 16 Feb 2018 @ 9:05am

      Re:

      Unless Congress has the ability to permanently restore Net Neutrality (to the point that the FCC can't reverse it), there's absolutely zero point to them doing this.

      You're mistaken. There are multiple lawsuits lined up against the FCC over its decision to repeal Title II protections; Techdirt has reported on them at length.

      There's a whole other branch of government besides the legislative and the executive. That branch has the authority to declare the FCC's decision illegal. Investigations into the FCC's decision-making process bolster that case.

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


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