Investigators, Reporters Close In On The Origins Of Those Fake Net Neutrality Comments

from the fake-plastic-support dept

As several Attorneys General and the FBI investigate who was behind the fake net neutrality comments that plagued the FCC website during the late 2017 repeal, reporters like Jason Prechtel and Gizmodo's Dell Cameron continue to slowly and methodically connect the dots. Last month, Cameron obtained leaked investigation data linking many of the bogus comments to several Trumpland-linked astroturfing and policy operations like "Free Our Internet," a bogus consumer-rights group specifically built by ex-Trump campaign staffer Christie-Lee McNally.

And this week, both Prechtel and Cameron leaned on FOIA data to discover that another sizeable chunk of the bogus comments were allegedly driven by both CQ Roll Call, a DC-based news and policy organization, and Center for Individual Freedom (CFIF), a "dark money" influence group with historical ties to defending tobacco companies:

"Founded in 1998, CFIF is a reportedly a dark-money group whose early roots lie in defending Big Tobacco, but which supported the repeal of net neutrality more recently and has campaigned aggressively against state laws requiring political groups like itself to disclose the sources of its funding. Along with CQ, the group is among the 14 entities subpoenaed by the New York attorney general last fall, as first reported by former BuzzFeed reporter Kevin Collier in October.

As late as last February, CFIF President Jeffrey Mazzella praised the FCC’s rollback of the Title II classification of broadband service underlying net neutrality in the Daily Caller, labeling the policy an “unprecedented power grab by the Obama administration,” which, he claimed, upended “two decades of bipartisan consensus for light-touch regulation of the internet sector."

You might recall that many of these efforts during the net neutrality repeal involved hijacking the names of both dead and living people (like myself), and using them to post comments supporting the repeal during the FCC open comment period. Most of these folks (obviously in the case of deceased) had never even visited the FCC website, much less heard about net neutrality. In one instance, a bot was used to pluck names from a hacked database of some kind, posting bogus, supportive-but-fake comments, name by name, in perfect alphabetical order.

In short, several groups were created by DC policy shops to generate the illusion of public support for a net neutrality repeal poll after poll shows was strongly opposed by a bipartisan majority of Americans. Especially since repealing those rules opened the door to ISPs using their network power to erect additional anti-competitive barriers for video competitors, driving up costs for everybody in the internet ecosystem.

None of this stuff is new. Telecom and other industries have spent decades creating entirely bogus consumer groups to prop up bad policy. And when companies aren't busy having DC policy shops create fake groups, they can often be found co-opting existing groups; promising cash infusions in exchange for quid-pro-quo support for company policy positions. Countless government agency proceedings have been plagued by similar fake comment issues, suggesting this sort of stuff is a pretty common option on the menu of many K Street lobbying and policy shops.

The goal is always the same: create the illusion of broad support for tech policy that consumers and actual experts strongly oppose, usually with very good reason. While that itself isn't illegal (whether it should be is a good conversation to have if we ever want to fix the country's garbage lobbying rules), identity fraud clearly is.

Of course identifying the dubious constructs acting as intermediaries is one thing. Connecting those constructs to entrenched broadband providers like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast is something else entirely. Telecom operators historically leave layers upon layers of deniability between themselves and such groups, and aren't usually dumb enough to put much of this work in writing. As such, whether the NY AG, FBI, and other investigators are able to document a real money trail to the obvious beneficiaries of these shenanigans will be interesting to watch.

Regardless of the outcome, there are more than a few DC policy outfits that aren't sleeping quite as well as they were this time two years ago. They've been engaging in this sort of behavior for years, but the extreme unpopularity of Ajit Pai's assault on net neutrality likely brought significantly more light and attention to the sleazy practice than they've historically grown accustomed to.

Filed Under: dark money, fake comments, fcc, foia, lobbying, net neutrality, transparency
Companies: center for individual freedom, cfif, cq roll call


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
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    Ehud Gavron (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 5:57am

    Hijacking your name

    You need to look up hijacking. Nobody hijacked your name. Just like you don't "hijack" the term "ISP" to mean "telco" or "broadband provider."

    Cheers, mate.

    E

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    • icon
      Gary (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 6:45am

      Re: Hijacking

      ISP - Internet Service Provider - Is exactly what a Telco or Broadband provider is, eh? They provide a connection to the internet.

      Spectrum - Broadband provider, is my ISP.

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      • icon
        Chryss (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 11:01am

        Re: Re: Hijacking

        I was going to say I can't believe this is devolving into an argument over semantics, but then I remembered the FCC's entire case seems to be predicated on 'telecommunications' vs. 'information service.'

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    • identicon
      TFG, 22 Feb 2019 @ 7:16am

      Re: Hijacking your name

      Ehud, for the love of god, get over this nonsense.

      An internet service provider is a company that provides subscribers access to the internet. This is a very broad term, and does not limit itself to specific methods of connection. Literally any company that provides access to the internet is an ISP.

      Verizon is an ISP. AT&T is an ISP. Comcast is an ISP. CenturyLink is an ISP. Earthlink is an ISP. Wide Open West is an ISP. The extent that MetroPCS in Detroit or T-Mobile or Sprint provide internet access via mobile hotspot plans, they are ISPs.

      They are all ISPs. All companies that provide Broadband access are ISPs. All telcos that also provide internet access are ISPs. If they connect you to the internet, they are an ISP.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 7:36am

      Re: Hijacking your name

      "You need to look up hijacking"

      You need to look up the term "ISP". None of what you whine about is actually incorrect.

      Yes, it must be annoying to see ISPs owned by the big conglomerates doing things that sully the reputation of smaller, more honest players. But, that doesn't mean that using the correct terminology to refer to their ISPs divisions is suddenly wrong.

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

    • icon
      xebikr (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 7:49am

      Re: Hijacking your name

      Dictionaries will always lag behind actual English meaning. Dictionaries describe how words are used, they don't prescribe how we must use them. As long as the meaning behind the statement is understood by a majority of the audience, the word used is correct. You might successfully argue that a different word would be portray the intended meaning to larger percentage of readers, but that doesn't mean the original choice was wrong, only that it was less clear.

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

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        Cole D Snap, 22 Feb 2019 @ 8:36am

        Re: Re: Hijacking your name: maybe of "xebikr"!

        This "account" has a mere 17 month gap, not seen since 2017 and sparse before, 2 in 2017, 2 in 2016, goes back to 2012 on first page!

        This gap is a month or so shorter than a very typical length that zombies rest.

        It's also a typical of a zombie because changed name! Was "Dave" when began 4 Mar 2010. But for NO obvious reason changed name to "xebikr" in the 14 minutes betweeen 24 Feb 2011 @ 3:22pm and 3:08pm!!!

        You. Can't. Explain. That.

        WEIRD.

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        • identicon
          TFG, 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:10am

          Re: Re: Re: Hijacking your name: maybe of "xebikr"!

          Not everybody comments religiously like you, dood. Also, sometimes people change their display name.

          There, I explained it.

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        • icon
          xebikr (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:30am

          Re: Re: Re: Hijacking your name: maybe of "xebikr"!

          LOL! Guess that's what I get for mostly lurking.

          Also, a more effective argument will focus on the content of the message, addressing specific issues you may have with the points that I made. For example, you might say "without having a previously agreed upon definition of a word, communication becomes more difficult. Only by insisting on a specific meaning of a word can we truly foster a productive discussion." This will help me to understand your point of view, and gives me the ability to respond in kind.

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          • identicon
            TripMN, 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:59am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Hijacking your name: maybe of "xebikr"!

            Join the club. They go out of their gourds when I stop lurking and comment every so often... even more so if I take the time to sign into the account I know I have but am too lazy to go thru the trouble.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 10:19am

          Re: Re: Re: Hijacking your name: maybe of "xebikr"!

          Tide comes in. Tide goes out. You can't explain that.

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    • icon
      Thad (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 8:20am

      Re: Hijacking your name

      Hey, Ehud.

      Since you're so concerned about people using words correctly, what's the correct usage of "I will refrain from bringing this up again"?

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      • icon
        Mike Read (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:10am

        Re: Re: Hijacking your name

        I'm actually really impressed by this comment. First remembering the comment and that it was this individual who made it, and then remembering/finding the thread.

        A 10/10 got'em.

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          identicon
          Cole D Snap, 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:24am

          Re: Re: Re: Hijacking your name -- another SPARSE zombie!

          "Mike Read" has made 25 comments since 8 Mar 2010, less than 3 per year. Bit over 3 year gap to 2013.

          But now blithely back, blandly supportive of the site!

          ODD. Everywhere except Techdirt.

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          • icon
            Mason Wheeler (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:28am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Hijacking your name -- another SPARSE zombie!

            Are you even aware of what the profile link you're reading means?

            (Here's a hint: why does Mike Read have one and you don't?)

            Once you've laboriously worked out what's blindingly obvious to the rest of us, you'll understand why everyone else thinks these innuendos you keep dropping about gaps in comment histories are full of crap.

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

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              Cole D Snap, 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:41am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hijacking your name -- another SPARSE zombie

              you'll understand why everyone else thinks these innuendos you keep dropping about gaps in comment histories are full of crap.

              NOT INNUENDOS! Conclusions based on FACTS which are available to everyone.

              You simply try to divert, but "Mike Read" and "xebikr" have ODD histories. Unbelievable.

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              • identicon
                TFG, 22 Feb 2019 @ 10:17am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hijacking your name -- another SPARSE zo

                Unbelievable.

                An excellent self-description. Good self-awareness. Nice job.

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            • icon
              Mike Read (profile), 23 Feb 2019 @ 8:00am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hijacking your name -- another SPARSE zombie

              Lurking. Now super suspicious behaviour :)

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        • icon
          Thad (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:31am

          Re: Re: Re: Hijacking your name

          The first two parts were easy enough, because Ehud has been beating this particular dead horse for ages and, as you may have gathered from the other replies to him, everybody is pretty goddamn sick of it.

          Finding the thread where he agreed he'd stop took a little bit longer, but I've got a pretty good memory for specific phrases, and it helps with figuring out what search terms to use.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:28am

      Re: Hijacking your name

      Hijack - verb, take over (something) and use it for a different purpose

      How is someone else using your name for a purpose you didn't intend not hijacking?

      Also, as others pointed out, ISP is a telco or broadband provider. That's quite literally the definition. No hijacking necessary.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 4:20pm

      Re: Hijacking your name

      Meaning of hijack in English Contents hijack verb [ T ] uk ​ /ˈhaɪ.dʒæk/ us ​ /ˈhaɪ.dʒæk/

      to take control of or use something that does not belong to you for your own advantage: He resents the way his ideas have been hijacked by others in the department. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/hijack

      Were you referring to a language other than English?

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

    • identicon
      Dave P., 23 Feb 2019 @ 10:08am

      Re: Hijacking your name

      Being more than just a little pedantic, aren't we? There are more important things to worry about at present (like the crackpot EU copyright business). Suggest that's where you should be diverting your pettiness to, or perhaps not, on second thoughts!

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

    • identicon
      Rog S., 25 Feb 2019 @ 1:02am

      Re: Hijacking your name

      You probably still recall the good old days when hijackings were still fun, like Munich.

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org /wiki/Lufthansa_Flight_615

      The kids today think criticism of batshit crazy, or criticism of how Techdirt /Guardian /Intercept ADL -SPLC utilize deplatforming on social media is a capital crime.

      Not that it doesnt suck, but it isnt exactly like the good ol days,when hijackers actually stood for something....

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 6:48am

    Oh, Karl. "Breathless"? Again? Tut tut.

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

  • identicon
    Spanglepants, 22 Feb 2019 @ 6:51am

    Hijack:

    • "To take control of or use something that does not belong to you >for your own advantage." (Cambridge Dictionary)
    • "Take over (something) and use it for a different purpose." (Oxford Dictionary)

    Looked it up. Mike's correct.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 7:16am

    i hope this investigation leads to Pai being sacked and actually imprisoned, although i doubt if Trump will have the gonads to do anything against the businesses he is so intent on favoring instead of the American people

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    • icon
      Thad (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 8:22am

      Re:

      i hope this investigation leads to Pai being sacked and actually imprisoned

      On what grounds?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:24am

        Re: Re:

        On what grounds?

        How about perjury or making false statements to law enforcement? (Although I realize those are very selectively enforced)

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

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:36am

          Re: Re: Re:

          For what specific statements?

          And, if you can produce such statements, what hard evidence is there -- not just conjecture, but evidence -- that he knew the statements were false, and wasn't just mistaken?

          If you're thinking of his claims that the comment site went down due to an attack rather than just buckling under high demand, then I think it's pretty obvious that he lied about that but that it's going to be very difficult to prove that in court. His line on that has been that he was misinformed.

          There may be documentation to prove that he knew the truth and deliberately concealed it; I'm not denying the possibility that it's out there. I just haven't seen any real evidence yet.

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      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:34am

        Re: Re:

        Felony interference with a business model, of course. Verizon encourages (ahem) Pai to get rid of Net Neutrality, but Pai is screwing that process up so badly that it is possible that Verizon will lose in the long run. Pai's screw-up is the felony that interfered with Verizon's business model that incorporates regulatory capture.

        /s

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  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 7:40am

    Center for Individual Freedom (CFIF), a "dark money" influence group with historical ties to defending tobacco companies

    Typical Libertarian doublespeak. They call themselves supporters of "individual freedom," then defend the rights of rich and powerful conglomerates to cause harm to and reduce the freedom of actual individuals.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 7:44am

      Re:

      Er what does the comment about an influence group with ties to the tobaccco industry have to do with libertarians?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 8:13am

        Re: Re:

        Mason doesn't like libertarians, just 'cause, so anything bad automatically becomes "libertarian".

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      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 8:48am

        Re: Re:

        The ideology being expressed, about promoting "freedom" for the rich and powerful, and conflating corporate power with individual rights, is the very core of libertarianism.

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

        • icon
          cattress (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 11:46pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, that's not the core of libertarianism. Individual freedom means the right to live your life as you see fit so long as it does not infringe on or aggress upon anyone else. This means some people will do things that other people disagree with, like smoking, taking drugs, or soliciting a prostitute. Lots of people complain about "dark money", because they always associate the desire to remain anonymous with sinister motives. Should the NAACP have to disclose their donor rolls, even when they first formed? How about Planned Parenthood, do you think people would still donate if their very conservative community would find out, or someone with violent intentions could target them? Do you think the police should be able to see who supports BLM, NORML, or the Innocence Project? Wanting to out a big corporate donor isn't worth everyone else's privacy. Libertarians tend to be against Net Neutrality along with Republican politicians because they don't understand the issue and our default position is against government control. The thing is, the Telecom and cable industries are not bastions of capitalism; it's cronyism top to bottom that's mislabeled as capitalism. Neither industry was ever a free market, and most places have no competing ISP. If consumers can't take their business elsewhere, and it's a necessary service, as in a utility, then it's not anti-freedom to have thoughtful regulation and enforcement mechanism. Regulations aren't the answer to everything, and often they are just market manipulation to hinder the competition. Libertarians don't hold any significant political power, so go attack the Democrats and Republicans that are controlled by big Pharma, oil and fossil fuels companies, Wall Street, police unions, and the rich and powerful you accuse us of representing. In fact, take a minute to consider how the Dems and reps do everything they can to keep third parties like us, who advocate for maximum individual liberty that appeals to members of both parties, completely shut out of the electoral process.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 7:56am

    Telling SOP

    None of this stuff is new. Telecom and other industries have spent decades creating entirely bogus consumer groups to prop up bad policy. And when companies aren't busy having DC policy shops create fake groups, they can often be found co-opting existing groups; promising cash infusions in exchange for quid-pro-quo support for company policy positions.

    When your standard response to 'we need to show support for this cause' is to fake it or buy it, I'd say that's a pretty glaring admission that even you know it's not supported by the public, and can't be honestly argued for.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Feb 2019 @ 5:22am

      All the truth money can buy

      So, you've those individuals and/or companies with enough spare money buying politicians to get votes, funding lobbyists to write law and pressure votes and generating fake public support for the shitty laws/policies which they created.

      There's a word for this. Hmmm. Corruption!

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

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    identicon
    Cole D Snap, 22 Feb 2019 @ 8:24am

    "Closing in" just like "Trump Russia collusion":

    Meaning closer to the target, LESS there is that's criminal. It'll fade away too.

    Minion sez:

    While that itself isn't illegal (whether it should be is a good conversation to have if we ever want to fix the country's garbage lobbying rules), identity fraud clearly is.

    But wasn't "identity fraud": you've not been done any harm, just at most someone used the same characters as your name to put in an HTML form.

    No harm done. Nor possible: the comments were NEVER binding on FCC is a key point. -- How could comments bind an agency? It's ridiculous. Your whole premise is just inflated egos believing that you matter, even though know you don't, even state often that decision was already made.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 8:31am

      Re: "Closing in" just like "Trump Russia collusion":

      "But wasn't "identity fraud": you've not been done any harm, just at most someone used the same characters as your name to put in an HTML form."

      So, I presume you won't mind supplying your credentials to us here, then? I mean, they're just characters, what harm can it do?

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        Cole D Snap, 22 Feb 2019 @ 8:42am

        Re: Re: "Closing in" just like "Trump Russia coll

        So, I presume you won't mind supplying your credentials to us here, then? I mean, they're just characters, what harm can it do?

        No. I KNOW that you kids intend harm.

        By the way, way back, the famous "out_of_the_blue" screen name WAS falsely used here, and after complaining and the site doing nothing while fanboys just jeered, that person wrote a little program to make simple checksum so that if the unique characters were duplicated, it WOULD be "identity theft". -- After that, the copying of screen name was no longer done.

        So, smartass: a few characters copied is NOT "identity theft" but when unique are.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 8:47am

          Re: Re: Re: "Closing in" just like "Trump Russia

          "No. I KNOW that you kids intend harm."

          You just claimed that putting the same credentials on a government forum would cause zero harm. Now, you're refusing to put the same details on a smaller private forum because it would cause you harm? Hmmm....

          "So, smartass: a few characters copied is NOT "identity theft" but when unique are."

          Define "unique", because you seem confused about what you're arguing...

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

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            identicon
            Cole D Snap, 22 Feb 2019 @ 8:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "Closing in" just like &qu

            Since you ignore all this, I'll just repeat it in bold:

            By the way, way back, the famous "out_of_the_blue" screen name WAS falsely used here, and after complaining and the site doing nothing while fanboys just jeered, that person wrote a little program to make simple checksum so that if the unique characters were duplicated, it WOULD be "identity theft". -- After that, the copying of screen name was no longer done.

            The simple checksum was unique characters PER COMMENT, besides that any attempt to imitate that defense of identity was proof of intent to use it falsely to discredit.

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

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:05am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Closing in" just like &am

              "The simple checksum was unique characters PER COMMENT"

              That really makes no sense. Each comment is unique in that sense (well, not really, but I can't be bothered to discuss real facts not directly related to your current claims), but it wouldn't catch people impersonating the handle.

              The only way to block other people from using the handle would be to create an account and make sure the password was protected - which ootb conspicuously refused to do because half his schtick was lying about what he said in the past and claiming impersonation when people called him out on it.

              "any attempt to imitate that defense of identity was proof of intent to use it falsely to discredit."

              So... just like the way peoples credentials were falsely used to suggest they supported Pai's wet dream? Got it...

              Anyway, have a good weekend. Clocking off tie for me, I'll shortly be going to see a band whose existence would be prevented by the draconian rules your type pushes for. I hope you make it outside and talk to real people for the first time this year, you need it.

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                identicon
                Cole D Snap, 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:15am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Closing in" j

                Clocking off tie [time] for me,

                AH. Just as long suspected, you are PAID while sit here and kibitz. I don't say paid TO, as your employer, especially if in UK, would likely be liable for all that you write if permitted so probably doesn't know (officially). The only alternative is that you're sneaking it in and cheating employer by not bothering to work.

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                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 23 Feb 2019 @ 1:28am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Closing in&quo

                  Ha ha no I’m paid to do thing other than mock idiots, I do that in my spare time at work. The fun thing about being good at my job is that I’m productive enough to have down time and still be of high value to my employer. It is curious that you’re obsessed enough with me to know my nationality but not enough to remember I haven’t lived there for over a decade though.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2019 @ 1:40am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Closing in&quo

                  "AH. Just as long suspected"

                  you are truly brain dead

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2019 @ 1:38am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Closing in" just like

                "By the way, way back, the famous "out_of_the_blue" screen name WAS falsely used here"

                "The only way to block other people from using the handle would be to create an account and make sure the password was protected - which ootb conspicuously refused to do because half his schtick was lying about what he said in the past and claiming impersonation when people called him out on it."

                exactly, c'mon man

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

      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 8:43am

        Re: Re: "Closing in" just like "Trump Russia collusion":

        Here's an interesting idea: does what they've done count as defamation?

        Think about it. The necessary elements are there.

        • Publishing of false facts (that Karl Bode supports this position)? Check.
        • Publishing of false facts that, if believed, will cause reputational harm to the subject? Well, there are plenty of people who will think less of someone who supports net neutrality repeal, and for good reason. I would certainly think Karl was an idiot if he actually supported it. Check.

        This is starting to sound like a legitimate, if unorthodox, libel case.

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

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          identicon
          Cole D Snap, 22 Feb 2019 @ 8:51am

          Re: Re: Re: "Closing in" just like "Trump Russia

          Publishing of false facts (that Karl Bode supports this position)? Check.

          Prove that the characters "Karl Bode" connect to THIS one, AND that he didn't/doesn't support doing away with net neutrailty (my opinion is that the minioin got his orders from GOOGLE mixed up and may well have intended its position at the time).

          Also covers your second "point", as I believe that since Bode always seems to support whatever GOOGLE wants, he's not picky about his rep.

          Not so simple with legalisms, eh?

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

          • identicon
            TFG, 22 Feb 2019 @ 8:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "Closing in" just like "Trump Rus

            I would hate to have to listen to you actually talk. The incoherency must be trebled.

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

            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
              identicon
              Cole D Snap, 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:11am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Closing in" just like &am

              I would hate to have to listen to you actually talk. The incoherency must be trebled.

              The problem is on your end.

              On topic, though, is ANOTHER type of "identifty fraud" here at Techdirt: it's clear that you are a fanboy. I believe that you "TFG", are one of several who have an account AND post AC or some name repeated though not logged in. Of course, your short gainsaying doesn't provide enough text to more than suspect, but it is consistent with this view. It's easy to play a game of identity fraud here, besides to appear coherent with some stock phrases as is "your" habit.

              Then there's the many apparent zombies like "xebikr" back after 17 month gap, besides "Krubuntu" back after 8 and half years!

              So, new readers beware: this site is for entertainment purposes only, just like the FCC comments, really.

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

              • identicon
                TFG, 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:23am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Closing in" just like

                You are entirely welcome to believe things that are false. Please continue to babble on, though I'd recommend getting some new material. Your entertainment value wanes with every post.

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

          • icon
            Mason Wheeler (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:08am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "Closing in" just like "Trump Rus

            Prove that the characters "Karl Bode" connect to THIS one

            It's been a while, so I might be misremembering, but I believe Karl mentioned back when this all started that it had not only his name but also his address on it. Or possibly his email address. Either way, there was indeed information there that uniquely identified it as our Techdirt writer and not some other guy named Karl Bode.

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

            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
              identicon
              Cole D Snap, 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:20am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Closing in" just like &am

              there was indeed information there that uniquely identified

              As I allowed for though not explicitly.

              But you must STILL connect that to harm beyond reasonable doubt. And again, I think Bode, IF there is such a human and it's not a bot, simply got GOOGLE'S position mixed up and now tries to wiggle out of it. You can't disprove that, which puts in reasonable doubt. -- Since you guys ALWAYS demand full criminal level of due process and doubt, I think that's sufficient for me to have raised, and leave it to the jury of hypothetical readers.

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

              • icon
                Mason Wheeler (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:23am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Closing in" just like

                This would indeed raise reasonable doubt if we accept that Karl is a Google mouthpiece. But you've provided no proof of that, therefore any statements predicated upon it are worthless.

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

                • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                  identicon
                  Cole D Snap, 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:37am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Closing in&quo

                  This would indeed raise reasonable doubt if we accept that Karl is a Google mouthpiece.

                  No, "reasonable doubt" doesn't require proving every tiny detail like motive, only that a likely possibility exists.

                  I'm just marveling that for once my comments haven't already been censored, I mean hidden as Techdirt euphemizes. -- When that occurs some thousands of times, EVERY time I comment, it's beyond reasonable doubt that the site doesn't intend to stifle a viewpoint. "The community" doing it is lie and dodge: actually an administrator decides.

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

        • identicon
          TFG, 22 Feb 2019 @ 8:53am

          Re: Re: Re: "Closing in" just like "Trump Russia collusion":

          To clarify, you're suggesting that Karl might have a legitimate libel case against the perpetrators of the false comments?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:11am

      Re: "Closing in" just like "Trump Russia collusion":

      There's no way you actually believe this.

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Cole D Snap, 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:33am

        Re: Re: "Closing in" just like "Trump Russia coll

        There's no way you actually believe this.

        Way.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2019 @ 8:33pm

          Re: Re: Re: "Closing in" just like "Trump Russia

          So let's recap.

          You believe that if someone's name is used to make a fake comment, no harm was done.

          Yet you not only point out a username, which has not been used for years, is being "falsely" used in a way you consider harmful.

          Did your mother drop you on the head in a way that removed all internal sense of rational consistency?

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

          • identicon
            Rog S., 25 Feb 2019 @ 1:29am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "Closing in" just like "Trump Rus

            Two major hurdles to your argument are proof, and then, purpose.

            Then, theres reckless disregard, and malice aforethought, actual malice.

            Good luck on any single point, much less all four.

            The argument can be made that names on the internet are themselves fair game for republication, satire, mockery, etc., regardless of intent.

            Is a name linked /not linked? Once publushing a real name, are you then a publuc figure, and can you be mocked accordingly, by anyone, as we see with Trump and Bozos?

            Etc.

            ATEOD it boils down to butthertz, and the shitbags with axes to grind having the miney or power to litigate it.

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

        • identicon
          de Torquemada, 25 Feb 2019 @ 1:21am

          Re: Re: Re: "Closing in" just like "Trump Russia

          Cole, PaulT lives in /around Mauritania. And it is Thad that writes these inane scripts to block speakers, because wordz hurtz people who have Aspergers, or suffer from mental illness.

          Paul is a sadist, and Thad is an authoritarian. The rest of Techdirts loyal Badwerdz Puhlice are similar. Max, Wendy Cockcraft, and a few others are basically bots themselves.

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 25 Feb 2019 @ 1:40am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "Closing in" just like "Trump Rus

            "PaulT lives in /around Mauritania"

            Like you live in/around Brazil?

            I mean, you outright lie a lot, but I'd love to know where you pull that kind of stuff from, as it neither makes any sense nor remotely matches the content of any message I've ever written.

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

            • identicon
              Rog S., 26 Feb 2019 @ 10:34am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Closing in" just like "Trump

              Hi, paul. Its in your Techdirt bio, right ? Gibraltar is kinda, sorta by mauritania.But who knows

              -I often confuse the varioAspergers asshats who flag my comments with other Aspergers asshats who flag my comments.

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

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 12:22am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Closing in" just like "T

                "Gibraltar is kinda, sorta by mauritania"

                You need to learn how to read a map. A quick calculation shows that Mauritania is over 1000 km from Gib. That's like telling someone living in south Florida that they live in Belize. Why you'd pick that rather than Spain (the country I actually live in, I work in Gib) is best left for the sane among us to guess.

                But, it does help demonstrate your tactics here - you'd rather lie about someone to their face with some weak attempt at a,personal insult rather than address any issue at hand - even when you admit you've seen factual evidence that would prove your claim wrong even if it were an insult. Rather sad.

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 22 Feb 2019 @ 8:27am

    CFAA

    It seems like this would be a good time for the DOJ to test out the CFAA in court. If they were willing to hammer Swartz with it, perhaps this time they could use it to do some good.

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

  • identicon
    Helmut von Autobahn, 22 Feb 2019 @ 9:54am

    The Russians did it!

    It must be so! They "supposedly" control just about any process on Earth. From elections to electricity, and from human minds to human bodies. :-D

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 11:53am

    Seen this for years..

    This pops up every once in awhile.. But nothing is done..And if it is, the company disappears and comes back with a different name.

    WE have laws against Lobbyists and these groups but HOW do we find and get rid of them..And how do we keep those laws from Being BENT/ABUSED/gotten rid of..

    The Gov. generally had agencies they created for certain things and to look into Areas they had questions about.. but Now we have Corp agencies filling the ballot box.

    Its not the Election system we have the big problem with..Its the little groups that have been created, that can supply ANY info the corps WANTS the gov. to believe..

    The Gov, tends to be a closed box, and the only info they get is what is fed to them through the hole in the side, created by corps.. When someone comes in with a FEW bags of letters and SOMEONE tells you they all say "????" this... do you have the time to check all the letters??? We can make things worse with the internet. Where is the validation of identity. Since 9/11 we have had to redo most of our drivers license and ID cards...but the gov cant figure out any other way to prove we have AN OPINION..

    there is the opinion, that Voting booths cant Be corrupted.. Ummm, keep thinking that. you have a nicce fantasy there. the Secret to it is very simple...for all the names on the voting lists..have they ever gone out and checked who they are?? Have they cross referenced these lists from county to county state to state.. NOPE, never.. How many locations do you think 1 person can signup to vote in.. how many Fake Social security numbers are out there?? Fake as in, taken from children30-50 years ago, and gotten the SS# from a child that died before age 2-3.. With a little imagination, we could even create his OWN family..

    Lets not get into conspiracy now. Lets not SEE' if a theory is right or wrong.. when a corp can walk up and Pay you $1million to Change a few numbers or slide a decimal..

    lets make it simple and easy to see.. A corp needs something, like new furniture...gets someone to make a small business, gets all that is needed, and as a Beginning small business, gets lots of state/fed discounts to keep going...but after the main corp is done, that little one, disappears.. no taxes paid, great discounts for all the good they bought that you would never see, and the company probably got CUTS on most of its taxes as a startup..so the state dont track them down..even if they could.. Sounds simple, and there are a few missing points(I wont explain them), but it is done.

    Good luck folks.. we need to decide what to do with this country to do...What? In capitalism, you work until you die...the only old retired persons are those on top.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 22 Feb 2019 @ 2:32pm

    Magically even having corrupted the entire panel by getting Pai & cohorts installed they still were not satisfied they had done enough so they had to completely undermine the entire process in a poor executed way that puppet Pai couldn't handwave away.

    DC is a swamp example #9075389074509387 and they still haven't done anything to fix it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2019 @ 10:10am

    put on the list that I was all for the repeal of net neutrality

    I know one thing I wasn't put on the list that I was all for repealling net neutrality until like 2 months after I sent a email to ffc.gov that said to pai. Quit collectting a double paycheck. Start working for the people that pay you and quit working for the isp's or something like that. So myself I think part of the fake comments was with help from the fcc commissioner and crew. Even though I don't live in NY, I would give them and anybody else permission to get my original letter from the fcc.gov and match it up against the supposebly comment I made in support of pai's plan to repeal net neutrality. If they match up the dates they will see its part an inside job, Then hopefully some in the fcc like pais&*t will go to jail for identity theft. So NY AG or others investigating the fraud I will give you all permission and give you my name address and all cause all that info is up there.

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


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