E-Mails Show FCC Made Up DDOS Attack To Downplay The 'John Oliver Effect'

from the disinformation-nation dept

You might remember that when HBO comedian John Oliver originally tackled net neutrality on his show in 2014, the FCC website crashed under the load of concerned consumers eager to support the creation of net neutrality rules. When Oliver revisited the topic last May to discuss Trump FCC boss Ajit Pai's myopic plan to kill those same rules, the FCC website crashed under the load a second time. That's not a particular shock; the FCC's website has long been seen as an outdated relic from the wayback times of Netscape, hit counters, and awful MIDI music.

But then something weird happened. In the midst of all the media attention Oliver was receiving for his segment, the FCC issued a statement (pdf) by former FCC Chief Information Officer David Bray, claiming that comprehensive FCC "analysis" indicated that it was a malicious DDoS attack, not angry net neutrality supporters, that brought the agency's website to its knees:

"Beginning on Sunday night at midnight, our analysis reveals that the FCC was subject to multiple distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDos). These were deliberate attempts by external actors to bombard the FCC’s comment system with a high amount of traffic to our commercial cloud host. These actors were not attempting to file comments themselves; rather they made it difficult for legitimate commenters to access and file with the FCC."

But the FCC's claims were seen as suspect by numerous security experts, who say the crash showed none of the usual telltale signs of an actual DDOS. And reports subsequently emerged indicating that the "analysis" the FCC supposedly conducted never actually occurred. When media outlets began noticing that something fishy was going on, the Trump FCC issued a punchy statement accusing the media of being "completely irresponsible." No evidence was ever provided to journalists or lawmakers that pressured the agency for hard data proving the claims.

Fast forward to this week, and new internal FCC e-mails obtained via FOIA request show that yes, the FCC did routinely try to mislead the public and the press with repeated claims of DDOS attacks that never actually happened:

"The FCC has been unwilling or unable to produce any evidence an attack occurred—not to the reporters who’ve requested and even sued over it, and not to U.S. lawmakers who’ve demanded to see it. Instead, the agency conducted a quiet campaign to bolster its cyberattack story with the aid of friendly and easily duped reporters, chiefly by spreading word of an earlier cyberattack that its own security staff say never happened."

The story is worth a read, and highlights how former FCC CIO David Bray and FCC media relations head Mark Wigfield repeatedly fed false information about the nonexistent attack to reporters, then used those (incorrect) stories to further prop up their flimsy claims about the DDOS:

"Bray is not the only FCC official last year to push dubious accounts to reporters. Mark Wigfield, the FCC’s deputy director of media relations, told Politico: “there were similar DDoS attacks back in 2014 right after the Jon Oliver [sic] episode.” According to emails between Bray and FedScoop, the FCC’s Office of Media Relations likewise fed cooked-up details about an unverified cyberattack to the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal apparently swallowed the FCC’s revised history of the incident, reporting that the agency “also revealed that the 2014 show had been followed by DDoS attacks too,” as if it were a fact that had been concealed for several years. After it was published, the Journal’s article, authored by tech reporter John McKinnon, was forwarded by Bray to reporters at other outlets and portrayed as a factual telling of events. Bray also emailed the story to several private citizens who had contacted the FCC with questions and concerns about the comment system’s issues."

The story isn't going to get much mainstream traction thanks to numerous other instances of cultural idiocy we're all currently soaking in, but it's fairly amazing all the same. In short, the FCC appears to have completely concocted a fake DDOS attack in a ham-fisted effort to try and downplay the massive public opposition to its extremely-unpopular policies.

Of course that's pretty standard behavior for an agency that also blocked a law enforcement inquiry into fraud during the public comment period, likely also an effort to downplay massive public opposition to the repeal. It's also pretty standard behavior from a Trump administration that enjoys using bullshit to distract from the fact that countless policies (like repealing net neutrality) run in stark, violent contrast to the admin's "populist" election message.

This isn't likely to be the end of this story, and more details are likely to surface in the looming lawsuits against the FCC attempting to restore net neutrality.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2018 @ 10:53am

    WOW!!!
    Government officials lying.

    Question: Do they ever tell the truth?

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 5 Jun 2018 @ 10:55am

    So...

    How are the perpetrators held accountable?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2018 @ 10:57am

    they used to say about lyndon johnson that he'd lie when the truth fit better.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2018 @ 11:29am

    Maybe the US needs a new law to make fake news illegal.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2018 @ 11:33am

    Real Story

    The well-established fact that gov'ts, especially the Executive Branch of our current one, lie is dog-bites-man. The man-bites-dog part is that the "John Oliver Effect" is now indisputable. Makes no difference that the gov't denies it - Johnny-me-boyo-Oliver has the power to splash gov't websites.

    A left-wing comic has achieved offhand what foreign powers have failed to accomplish with concerted intent funded by nation-state resources.

    Crack a bottle and raise a toast.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 12:22pm

      Re: Real Story

      A left-wing comic has achieved offhand what foreign powers have failed to accomplish with concerted intent funded by nation-state resources.

      Being funny?

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      icon
      Richard Bennett (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 2:32pm

      Re: Real Story

      Oliver's story was fed to his writers by Google lobbyist Marvin Ammori, former employee of Free Press. He bragged about it.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2018 @ 2:52pm

        Re: Re: Real Story

        This doesn't make sense. What story? That the FCC was going to kill Net Neutrality?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2018 @ 3:12pm

        Re: Re: Real Story

        How are you such a bad liar?

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 3:44pm

        Re: Re: Real Story

        Even if it was: So what?

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

      • icon
        JMT (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 7:50pm

        Re: Re: Real Story

        Makes sense, since nobody knew anything at all about the FCC's plans to repeal NN rules until Ammori fed Oliver the story right?

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 6 Jun 2018 @ 12:52am

          Re: Re: Re: Real Story

          If he believes that nobody knew about the details before Oliver's show, it might explain why he thinks he can get away with being so utterly wrong on the subject in every post.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2018 @ 1:42am

        Re: Re: Real Story

        Boy - google definitely doesn't like you - I image searched your profile pic and the results was unflattering to say the least!

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2018 @ 12:18pm

        Re: Re: Real Story

        Got proof Ammori gave the story to Oliver? Cause I don't see any.

        And even if that is true, so what? Net Neutrality still matters, the public overwhelmingly supports it, and Pai wanted to get rid of it. These are all indisputable facts. And I watched Oliver's piece (both actually) on NN, nowhere in there did I see any factual errors.

        So, once again that leaves you with a big fat nothing burger of a statement.

        Try again Richard.

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

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 11:35am

    First the FCC calls a surge in traffic from real commenters "malicious," then labels the good of American citizens "special interests."

    It's like they buy into the "citizens are enemy combatants out to get you" delusion almost as hard as certain police agencies do.

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

  • icon
    thebruce (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 11:40am

    political will

    Pretty sure we already have an accountability framework...but lack the political will to hold these perpetrators to the parameters of ther job descriptions and oath(s) of office.

    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, 5 Jun 2018 @ 12:12pm

      Re: political will

      First, hi there, "thebruce". Your first comment and first reply! Red letter day.

      You should be informed before wasting time that your efforts here will be futile. The minion even writes: "The story isn't going to get much mainstream traction". Techdirt's niche is the irrelevant, and often already over by time re-written.

      But enjoy, while it lasts. -- Just watch out for zombies! About half of "accounts" here have highly ODD gaps of three to seven years, so you may well be responding to astro-turfing.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 12:34pm

        Re: Re: political will

        How can you both hate this site and keep coming back to it? Is that how you tell yourself “I’m alive”? I mean, really, is this what keeps you from downing a bottle of sleeping pills and waiting for the inevitable?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2018 @ 1:16pm

        9 years here and your legacy is

        To be auto flagged by every regular with two spare brain cells to rub together. Congratulations that’s impressively pathetic.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 6 Jun 2018 @ 12:54am

        Re: Re: political will

        You're now so bereft of ideas that you're attacking new commenters? Does it really take 3 paragraphs to say "hi, I'm an idiot, get used to me being an obnoxious liar"?

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

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2018 @ 12:06pm

    NOT probative: "agency conducted a quiet campaign to bolster"

    SO? Neither re-writer nor source have ANY evidence that was not DDOS, only at most that high-level execs repeated a story they didn't care whether was true.

    **AND SO? Was ZERO effect on the "net neutrality" decision in any event!** -- As I wrote way back, even assuming all you say is true, comments still were / are not binding on decisions!

    But, hey, if makes you 'dirters happy to re-hash this yet again, must be literally twenty pieces by now, that's FINE with me! It's just Typical Techdirt: LAME.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 12:33pm

      Re:

      Neither re-writer nor source have ANY evidence that was not DDOS, only at most that high-level execs repeated a story they didn't care whether was true.

      That fact pushes the argument in favor of “the DDOS never happened”. Why openly lie about facts that other people could verify?

      Was ZERO effect on the "net neutrality" decision in any event!

      You can go on believing that a fake DDOS cooked up by the FCC to undercut the public opposition to the repeal of Network Neutrality had “no effect” on either the vote to repeal or the discussion surrounding that vote. You’d be wrong, but hey, it’s your right to be wrong.

      Typical Techdirt: LAME.

      Do better. Go get a Wordpress blog and do Techdirt better than Techdirt does. If you hate Techdirt this much and you know it will not change to suit your sensibilities and politics and high standards, go outdo it and show them how the fuck things should be done. But for your own sake, stop coming here if you hate the site that much; your posts come off as a form of self-harm akin to wrist-cutting or alcoholism or watching reality TV all day. Get yourself some professional help, man.

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

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 7:54pm

      Re: NOT probative: "agency conducted a quiet campaign to bolster"

      "Neither re-writer nor source have ANY evidence that was not DDOS..."

      That's the whole point, there's no evidence that anything happened. Are you seriously suggesting it's up to everyone else to disprove the FCC's DDOS claim? Do you not understand how the burden of proof works?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Hero, 5 Jun 2018 @ 12:41pm

    Any chance they DDoS'd themselves to keep people from commenting in favor of keeping net neutrality?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2018 @ 12:46pm

      Re:

      Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. After all, they needed the site to be up and running for all of those dead people to post in support of the repeal.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2018 @ 7:49pm

      Re:

      No. Much like the rest of the Trump admin, they're petty liars not ingenius conmen.

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

  • identicon
    Thad, 5 Jun 2018 @ 12:52pm

    This was blisteringly obvious from the get-go, but it's nice to get confirmation.

    So what are the legal ramifications of this? The FCC lied about a DDoS attack to downplay the size of the public response, kept records proving that it lied, and then fought FOIA requests for said records.

    There are numerous court challenges to the Title II repeal. These emails look an awful lot like the sort of thing that will appear with the word "Exhibit" on them.

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

  • icon
    Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 1:31pm

    Here is something I never understood

    and I'm not being facetious, but how does the FCC go about "blocking" a criminal investigation into fraud? Fail to cooperate I could believe...and would expect court ordered supoenea, etc to force cooperation. Its not like they are the DOJ.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Richard Bennett (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 1:50pm

    How about a little fact-checking

    This is a typical Bode troll, all spew and no facts. Go read David Bray's Medium post, "On People and Service in Turbulent Environments."

    A couple of key points: Dell Cameron, the Gizmodo troll who manufactured the story, lied when he claimed to have reached out to Bray.

    There as either a DDoS attack or such incompetent use of the comment system API as to mimic one.

    Taking Gigi Sohn's technical analysis of the 2014 DDoS attack as gospel is about as absurd as counting on Bode to deliver something like straight reporting; just not in the person's skill set.

    But keep on nurturing your conspiracy theories, that's what Techdirt is for.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2018 @ 1:59pm

      Re: How about a little fact-checking

      This is a typical Bennett troll, all spew and no facts.

      ftfy

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2018 @ 2:03pm

      Re: How about a little fact-checking

      Did you know that on the internet, you can post "links" to "websites" which host "posts" which you want people to read?

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        icon
        Richard Bennett (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 2:18pm

        Re: Re: How about a little fact-checking

        Not on this site, it censors links.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2018 @ 2:41pm

          Re: Re: Re: How about a little fact-checking

          Funny, I have often included links, but it does require turning on and using markdown. You can even use preview to check formating and that the link works as expected.

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            icon
            Richard Bennett (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 2:51pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: How about a little fact-checking

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2018 @ 3:12pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How about a little fact-checking

              And you prove yourself to be a liar about links being censored.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2018 @ 3:16pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How about a little fact-checking

              Seriously how are you such a bad liar? You can’t keep a simple story straight for more than a half an hour.

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

              • icon
                BernardoVerda (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 10:14pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How about a little fact-checking

                I used to assume that he's a paid shill, but I'm beginning to think he might only be a useful idiot.

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

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 6 Jun 2018 @ 1:03am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How about a little fact-checking

              The link that's perfectly visible, along with the comment that proves that you're such a childish idiot the link is bound to be worthless to adult debate? Sure.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2018 @ 3:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: How about a little fact-checking

            You can even use preview to check formating and that the link works as expected.

            Works as expected? You know, there's a Rick Astley YouTube video, “Never Gonna Give You Up”. Awhile ago I discovered that linking to that video will put your post straight into the automod queue. Not that surprising, if you think about it.

            So how do you check whether direct-to-the-automod-queue works as expected — on preview?

            The url is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2018 @ 8:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: How about a little fact-checking

          Shit, maybe Dick really was MyNameHere/horse with no name/Just Sayin'/Whatever all along.

          Makes sense he'd be such a fan of Prenda Law. How's that going, by the by? Paul Hansmeier needs your funds!

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

        • icon
          techflaws (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 9:55pm

          Re: Re: Re: How about a little fact-checking

          Show us where it happened or STFU, you lying asshat.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 6 Jun 2018 @ 1:02am

          Re: Re: Re: How about a little fact-checking

          No, it doesn't.

          What it does do is hold some links in a spam filter, especially from users who have been reported for either spamming or trolling a number of times. If you're not doing either, the link will usually be approved. It's happened to me sometimes, I just don't whine like an idiot when I'm informed it's being held for review.

          I'd go back to some of those "censored" links you've posted in the past. I'd be willing to bet they're visible now. But, hey, if you want to claim a working spam filter is deliberate censorship, you've confirmed you have the same knowledge of running a web forum as you do about NN.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2018 @ 1:30am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: How about a little fact-checking

            Honestly, if Bennett wants to make sure he gets to post his links he can always pay Techdirt for the fast lane privilege. That's what he wants, right?

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 2:15pm

      Re: How about a little fact-checking

      Dell Cameron, the Gizmodo troll who manufactured the story, lied when he claimed to have reached out to Bray.

      Please offer proof of your claim.

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

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        icon
        Richard Bennett (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 2:18pm

        Re: Re: How about a little fact-checking

        I did; see Bray's Medium post.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2018 @ 12:37pm

          Re: Re: Re: How about a little fact-checking

          That's not proof. He didn't provide one single verifiable statement in the entire post. It was a bunch of he said/she said crap.

          Also, you can't offer as proof more statements from the guy we all think is lying and claim it proves him right. You have to have evidence to back up his claims, and you both have none.

          Try again Richard.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 6 Jun 2018 @ 12:59am

      Re: How about a little fact-checking

      " Go read David Bray's Medium post"

      or: "I don't like this blog post. Go read another blog post I happen to agree with! (but won't link to because I don't know how the internet works)." You're really desperate to not get refuted with facts to disprove your ideas yet again, aren't you?

      "There as either a DDoS attack or such incompetent use of the comment system API as to mimic one."

      Can you rewrite that in legible English, please?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2018 @ 12:34pm

      Re: How about a little fact-checking

      Go read David Bray's Medium post

      You mean the one written by the guy we are all accusing of lying to us? Oh yeah, we'll absolutely believe what he says, because that makes sense. Why would I believe someone who I believe to be lying who can't even provide proof that he isn't lying? Talk about circular reasoning.

      Regardless of that, I did read it. Nowhere in there does he actually say it was "absolutely, 100% a DDoS attack, and here's the proof". In actuality he said this:

      whether the correct phrase is denial of service or “bot swarm” or “something hammering the Application Programming Interface” (API) of the commenting system

      Oh, you mean like form letters people can fill out and have one organization submit them via API on their behalf, which is completely legal and valid? That kind of "odd" behavior?

      So basically Bray is admitting that it very well could have been a bunch of people filling out form letters and those organizations trying to submit them all at once. Your argument is evaporating like mist in sunshine.

      There as either a DDoS attack or such incompetent use of the comment system API as to mimic one.

      So basically what you're saying is the FCC's comment system is so borked that it can't handle a paltry flood of comments, compared to the traffic that a lot of other similarly sized websites get. Because, let's be clear here, 1) there was no DDoS attack, 2) the onus of using an API correctly is not on the user, it is on the developer of the API to make sure it's designed in such a way that it either can't be used incompetently or can do some basic error catching/correction. Congratulations, you just called Bray and the FCC incompetent.

      Taking Gigi Sohn's technical analysis of the 2014 DDoS attack as gospel is about as absurd as counting on Bode to deliver something like straight reporting; just not in the person's skill set.

      Ad hom attack, no facts to support either assertion. But for the sake of argument, since you're saying we shouldn't believe an adviser to the FCC, I guess that means we shouldn't believe a word you say either, doesn't it Richard?

      But keep on nurturing your conspiracy theories, that's what Techdirt is for.

      Well, considering you can't do anything but lie, the truth must seem like a conspiracy theory to you.

      Try again Richard.

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

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    icon
    Richard Bennett (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 2:20pm

    Bray

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Richard Bennett (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 2:25pm

    Bray's post

    If you actually read the Gizmodo blog by Dell Cameron that Bodey McBodeface cribs, you'll see a link to Bray's post.

    It looks something like this: medium[dot]com/@davidbray/while-i-am-currently-executive-director-for-the-people-centered-internet-c oalition-previously-four-93ce38f272e

    The Gizmodo post is quite long and very confused, as one would expect.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 6 Jun 2018 @ 1:08am

      Re: Bray's post

      "Bodey McBodeface"

      Sorry, I don't read things that people with such playground mindsets take as fact.

      "The Gizmodo post is quite long and very confused, as one would expect."

      But, you won't detail why nor refute any point here, just enlessly demand someone reads another person's words while participating in kindergarten name-calling that would embarrass my girlfriend's 6 year old daughter.

      Are you really stupid enough to think that this is a compelling debate tactic? Once again, no wonder you fail at NN arguments here, you're not ever capable of presenting yourself as an adult with original thoughts, let alone access to facts.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2018 @ 12:45pm

      Re: Bray's post

      If you actually read the Gizmodo blog

      I did.

      you'll see a link to Bray's post.

      Saw that and read it too.

      The Gizmodo post is quite long and very confused, as one would expect.

      Actually, the Gizmodo story is a total of 2005 words in length. Bray's Medium post 2229 words in length. But I would absolutely agree with you that Bray's post is very long winded and confused as he can't even seem to get his own story straight and has to assure the readers multiple times that he is "just as concerned" about NN and people being able to have their voice heard as the rest of us. Still want to say the Gizmodo story is "quite long and confused"?

      Try again Richard.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2018 @ 6:17pm

    WAIT A MINUTE, KARL.

    ..."awful MIDI music"?

    What did you use to make your Geocities page pop, Mr. Fancy?

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

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 6 Jun 2018 @ 7:56am

      Re:

      To be fair, most MIDI music is god-awful… but then again, most music in general is god-awful. It's Sturgeon's Law. You have to hunt around for the good stuff. I have plenty of really great MIDI music, but I had to wade through oceans of garbage to find it, like any other genre of music... or video... or books...

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2018 @ 4:28pm

      Re:

      Lense flairs!!!

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 6:26pm

    Government lies to public... story appears on page 72k in 2 pt font because it's as shocking as water being wet.

    They will not be held accountable, they will do it again, they might run some idiot out as the fall guy & he'll probably land at Sinclair in a nice cushy job.

    They lie to us so often, they have started to believe the lies & support others lies as long as it helps them 'win'. Pity they don't give a shit about the losers... who end up paying the bills.

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

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 7:15pm

    okay so here's the million dollar set of questions.

    1. How legal is it to purposely, willfully, and blatantly mislead not only the public, but also lawmakers, and the DoJ on such a bi-partisan issue?

    2. How can the FCC actually defend against this?

    3. What are now the chances of a legal restoration of Net Neutrality or can Ajit Pai be legally removed from office due to gross negligence?

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Richard Bennett (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 7:34pm

    Here's a run down

    Check out my story for the actual, you know, boring facts:

    FOIA Inquiry on FCC DDoS Attacks Comes up Empty

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2018 @ 7:47pm

      Re: Here's a run down

      Dick please, you couldn’t even go half an hour without contradicting yourself in a trivial matter here. What make you think anyone would believe your more “in depth” bullshit?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2018 @ 7:51pm

      Re: Here's a run down

      I would like to inform you of the revocation of your Rick Rights. Have a good day DICK.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Bob Murray, 5 Jun 2018 @ 9:04pm

      Re: Here's a run down

      Don't listen to these haters, Richard. I'm behind you all the way. But if you could be behind me and put your Richard in my ass that'd be better. Fuck John Oliver. (Or don't, I'd rather you fucked me instead.)

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

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 9:56pm

      Re: Here's a run down

      You're quite the genius, aren't you?

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 6 Jun 2018 @ 1:10am

      Re: Here's a run down

      Huh, I thought you claimed links were censored, yet here's another one perfectly visible...

      And no, I won't follow spam to whatever shitty blog you write. Make your argument here.

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

      • identicon
        Thad, 6 Jun 2018 @ 12:35pm

        Re: Re: Here's a run down

        And no, I won't follow spam to whatever shitty blog you write. Make your argument here.

        Better yet, he can keep it on his shitty blog and get over his quaint fixation with Techdirt and Ars Technica articles about net neutrality.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 7 Jun 2018 @ 1:39am

          Re: Re: Re: Here's a run down

          I've noticed him on both sites, though I'm a far less frequent comments on Ars so I let others take care of him for me there. I wonder how many other sites that dare discuss actual facts on the subject he's been polluting? I'm sure these can't be the only ones. I do also wonder how he deals with sites that actually censor comments, if he can't handle the ones that generally don't.

          Oh well, at least if he's trolling for clicks it would explain his behaviour and ignorance to some degree, unlike the anonymous ones who don't even have that bare excuse.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2018 @ 8:26am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Here's a run down

            I've noticed that either Dick doesn't post on Ars, or his posts get very quickly hidden. It's one thing I'm not fond of Ars for; you don't get to see others pick apart his rigmarole.

            Makes you wonder why he bothers here. One common part of the Techdirt troll screed is that Techdirt is a "libtard" site with, if out_of_the_blue is to be trusted, only 27 visitors from Bangladesh. If so, it begs the question why the fact Techdirt exists puts such a twist in Dick's pantyhose.

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

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 7 Jun 2018 @ 8:57am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Here's a run down

              Presumably because both the site and regular commenters can be relied upon to pick apart and dispel misinformation about net neutrality. The guy seems to be intent on spreading bad info, so it must annoy him to be so regularly and thoroughly contradicted. Especially since, unlike Ars, comments aren't actually removed here so the full conversation is always visible, and it should be clear to any casual reader where the facts lie.

              Amusingly, I did a quick search to see if he's been commenting on other sites I visit semi-regularly. I didn't find much (assuming he always uses the same handle), but I do see him being cited as a "reliable" source occasionally on The Register by none other than Andrew Orlowski, possibly the most openly trolling tech "journalist" I've ever had the misfortune of reading. If that doesn't tell you everything, I'm not sure what can.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2018 @ 12:51pm

      Re: Here's a run down

      Trying to do some damage control for your ISP masters, eh Richard?

      Your entire "article" doesn't say anything that TD's, Gizmodo's, or Bray's articles don't already say, in fact, most of it is copied and pasted from those articles (and you harp on TD for re-hashing old news). And your "proof" is to quote Bray's post (the guy everyone thinks is lying) who doesn't give any evidence or proof other than to say "I did a quick analysis". Ok, where's the official documents, logs, records, ANYTHING that proves him right. What's that? None? Huh, go figure.

      Try again Richard.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2018 @ 7:35pm

    Well, Dick Bennett thinks that comments made under senators' names but not actually made by said senators should be counted in support of net neutrality repeal.

    Is anyone else surprised he thinks that fake DDoS attacks should be totally legitimate too?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2018 @ 3:27am

    People, please calm down

    The FCC site was neither DDOSed, nor did it crash under the heavy load of citizens' outrage.

    It was only temporarily unavailable to the public, because the FCC folks were so busy entering comments.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2018 @ 4:51am

    Come on Karl, just say it -- "the Obama FCC"

    I'm waiting for Karl Bode to utter the phrase "the Obama FCC" -- just to be consistent with "the Trump FCC" as he now so frequently refers to the current agency. As this article was about a 2014 incident, this would have been another excellent opportunity to demonstrate some grammatical consistency (as well as non-partisanship).

    But no such luck. Karl Bode's record of grammatical inconsistency remains ... consistent.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 6 Jun 2018 @ 5:34am

      Re: Come on Karl, just say it -- "the Obama FCC"

      Even less to factually refute in the article than normal, huh?

      The tactics you guys are being reduced to is extraordinarily pathetic, even by your own low standards.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2018 @ 8:36am

    It's difficult to fight against a corrupted power through the very medium that that power controls. I aim slightly to the left of my wife's flowerbed when peeing off the deck.

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

  • identicon
    GEMont, 6 Jun 2018 @ 9:04am

    Gov's Playbook, Chapter 3: The distraction of destruction.

    "This isn't likely to be the end of this story, and more details are likely to surface in the looming lawsuits against the FCC attempting to restore net neutrality."

    Hmmmmm.... sounds like its time for a national crisis, or a declaration of war, or a terrorist attack on a public space, once again.

    Gotta derail these looming investigations somehow ...

    Amazing how easy it is to distract the public inquiry into government misdeeds by simply blowing up a few buildings, killing a few hundred civilians, or sending troops off to some tiny third world country for a highly televised war-show.

    Wonder what kind of false crisis they'll use this time .... they'll need a biggie - this criminal administration has a ton of illegal shit to sweep under the public rug and needs to do a massive "look over there" scam real soon.

    ---

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

  • identicon
    Michael Riendeau, 6 Jun 2018 @ 11:15am

    Revolution!

    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.

    When the fuck does the guillotine become a legit option? Because this betrayal of citizens by government at all levels is happening way too frequently for my tastes.

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

  • identicon
    Michael Riendeau, 6 Jun 2018 @ 11:15am

    Revolution!

    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.

    When the fuck does the guillotine become a legit option? Because this betrayal of citizens by government at all levels is happening way too frequently for my tastes.

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

    • identicon
      Gary Mont, 7 Jun 2018 @ 8:01am

      Re: Revolution!

      "...this betrayal of citizens by government at all levels is happening way too frequently for my tastes."

      Hell mon, you aint seen nothing yet.

      This situation cannot get any better until the public realizes the US has been conquered by its own wealthiest citizens, and demands a return to the rule of honest law, or revolts and puts the tyrants to the stake.

      It will however continue to get worse. That is guaranteed by the simple fact that the billionaires in power have gotten away with every scam they've tried so far. There is no reason for these Fascists to consider anything but escalation of the program.

      The beauty of being super rich is that, should your home nation become bankrupt due to your machinations, every other nation on earth is still eager to invite you over to stay as long as you like.

      ---

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2018 @ 5:21pm

    Yet, Russia is the boogeyman.

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

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 8 Jun 2018 @ 9:35am

    Update: Tom Wheeler has now stated unequivocally that there was neither DDOS nor coverup in 2014, unlike Bray claims.

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

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 8 Jun 2018 @ 9:41am

    Reposting repost re: DDOS proof

    ecafsub wrote: reddit user /u/MNGrrl posted a very thorough breakdown of how we know the FCC is/was lying. Go read it.

    Reposting in full:

    Quote: We caught them red handed -- they claimed 'cyber attack' but we have the uptime reports. We have the connectivity reports (their CDN is Akamai - you can view real time attack data for their network -- if the FCC site was down, a big chunk of the web would have been too). It would have made big news in the IT/networking world if Akamai hiccup'd... since they were able to handle the world's largest DDoS last fall. That got noticed... by, erm, everyone. Network Operations Centers all over the world saw it. Did anyone see the FCC DDoS? crickets

    There's evidence that the bot is being run on an API -- in other words someone inside the FCC specifically gave access. They have to issue special keys (just like with Reddit!) -- and they're rate limited. They would know who's doing it instantly, because that API isn't available for just anyone: You have to ask for it -- click on the link, it'll show you the form; It asks for name and e-mail. Someone from the FCC said as much -- it was API accesses, not public-facing. If there was a connectivity issue it wasn't external, it was internal, preventable, and that's why they won't give out the server logs. Because they knew who was doing it, could have stopped it, didn't, and are letting it continue to happen as we speak. They know exactly which comments are being submitted by bots, and who owns them. Purely for my own amusement, I went looking for the Terms of Service for accessing the API. Click. Click. Aaaand here we are: "FCC computer systems employ software to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts..." :snip: "If such monitoring reveals evidence of possible abuse or criminal activity" :snip: cough Fraud cough "Unauthorized attempts to upload or change information on this server are strictly prohibited". Not going to do anything, FCC? Says what they did is "strictly prohibited"... soooooooo.... crickets

    The previous link provides evidence it's a grand total of... five. Five different copy pasta text; And all sourced from the same stolen identity databases. And the submission times are painfully obvious that it was automated: The number of submissions per second was nearly constant too, like clockwork. And submitted alphabetically. What's more... They prepared for this years ago. You can say, unironically, "Thanks Obama" for that one. They specifically upgraded the public comments after the last network neutrality comment crush. Rather a lot (footnote: ECFS is the comment system -- and it was specifically targeted for a revamp and big bump to system capacity). That capacity wasn't exceeded -- not by the general public anyway. The inflow rate of submissions from John Oliver's gofccyourself.com came in well under -- 150k versus 1.1 million? It's hard to imagine how they'd add all that extra capacity only to have it fall over dead under a fraction of the load. Someone was even nice enough to make a map of who's submitting the comments. Look at the first time this happened. Then look at that one. Notice anything? This time around, the map looks like a mirror of the population distribution of the entire country. By the numbers, the whole nation knows about Network Neutrality, across every demographic... equally. Including the deceased.

    Oh, they never filed a report with the Department of Homeland Security, which is what every government agency is supposed to do if they experience a cyber attack. Double bonus round, Here's the FCC's own page on cybersecurity preparedness and response. And what do they say? "The FCC, because of its relationship with the nation’s communications network service providers, is particularly well positioned to work with industry to secure the networks upon which the Internet depends." Sounds like someone who'd have a plan, you'd think.They claimed to the media something their own policies dictate what the response should be -- and they didn't do those things. It's right there for anyone who cares to go hunting for the data and published documents. They didn't file the report because it wasn't a DDoS: It was access approved by them.

    The FCC may be run now by a corrupt chairman but the institution itself was built on transparency and this guy sits in his office with an oversized coffee mug and posts Youtubes about how tech savvy he is. Behold, he can Twitter. Well, he isn't, actually. His pants are down and his ass is hanging out if you know where to look. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was the FCC. No matter how much him and the rest of the Trump administration tries to silence, coerce, replace, and otherwise generally screw with freedom of information and transparency... those institutions are staffed by tens of thousands of people operating under policies and rules enacted over decades. The FCC doesn't operate in a vaccum either: It's part of the internet. An internet catalogued and backed up by the NSA no less. Anyone remember Snowden and metadata? We log the shit out of all internet traffic. There are no logs. That's damning enough evidence all by itself.

    You can't CTRL-Z that. We have all the proof we need; We don't need server logs. We don't need confirmation from them. They can throw up a wall of silence and deny all they want -- we have them dead to rights and it amazes me that nobody in the media has come out and flatly said these guys are full of shit beyond any reasonable doubt. This isn't accusation, it's not supposition, it's hard fact. The. End.

    Here's a parting thought: How about we all hit up the FTC and report identity theft? About, erm, what, a million or so cases so far? Let's subpoena the shit out of the FCC and unmask our identity thieves. While we're at it, let's grab their e-mail server too. Something something but her e-mails. I, for one, find it materially relevant how my identity was stolen, and some of that evidence is in the FCC's possession. That chairman's a lawyer right? Surely he wouldn't begrudge us lawyering up.

    .

    EDITs: Added links and some extra details.

    EDIT: Press refresh after the edits and... Oh. For those wanting to go to the press: You have my permission to copy pasta this in whole or in part to anyone you want -- just link back to this comment or credit me. Thanks.

    EDIT: Several users pinged WaPo here; They're investigating. #WeDidItReddit

    EDIT: Gizmodo is too.

    EDIT: Hello El Reg! They were nice enough to post the FCC's statement regarding the DDoS. I'll save you the trouble of reading it: "We were DDoS'd and the evidence is ███████, using ████ ███████, and we're ███████. Thanks. "

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


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