I’m not going to sugar coat the issue in some sort of misguided attempt at diplomacy or political correctness. Ajit Pai is on a mission to destroy net neutrality and reverse all of the progress made by the FCC in the previous decade. He speaks about it with platitudes and spurious arguments as if he is doing a favor for America, but the truth is that he is pursuing an aggressive agenda that will ruin the future of the internet.
The FCC claims it was the target of a DDoS attack. New reports suggest that may be true—and that nearly half a million fraudulent comments may have been made in the FCC system in support of Chairman Ajit Pai’s efforts to gut net neutrality. Many of the victims of that identity fraud have sent a letter to the FCC demanding that fraudulent comments be removed and the source of the attack investigated.
Ajit Pai and the FCC don’t seem to have any problem with fraudulent comments that support their plans. Despite calls for evidence and an investigation, the FCC says it plans to consider all of the comments as it moves forward.
The letter states, “Based on numerous media reports, nearly half a million Americans may have been impacted by whoever impersonated us in a dishonest and deceitful campaign to manufacture false support for your plan to repeal net neutrality protections.”
It goes on to say, “While it may be convenient for you to ignore this, given that it was done in an attempt to support your position, it cannot be the case that the FCC moves forward on such a major public debate without properly investigating this known attack.”
A blog post from Fight for the Future shares the account of one victim. “In my nearly 30 years of being an Internet user, I’ve been extremely judicious about using my real name online. On those rare times when I have chosen to do so, it’s been for something I feel strongly about. To see my good name used to present an opinion diametrically opposed to my own view on Net Neutrality makes me feel sad and violated,” Joel Mullaney told Fight for the Future. “Whoever did this violated one of the most basic norms of our democratic society, that each of us have our own voice, and I am eager to know from what source the FCC obtained this falsified affidavit. I have been slandered,” Mr. Mullaney added.
I reached out to the FCC for an official response to this issue and the letter from the victims of this attack. The response I received from an FCC spokesperson is the following statement from Ajit Pai:
I encourage broad participation in this rulemaking as in any FCC rulemaking, and what matters most are the quality of the comments, not the quantity. We will make our decision based on the facts that are in the record and on the relevant law that is presented – and obviously fake comments such as the ones submitted last week by the Flash, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Superman are not going to dramatically impact our deliberations on this issue.
This is an issue that’s impacted me personally as hundreds of comments as I’ve seen have been submitted under my own name. Now there’s obviously a tension between having open process where it’s easy to comment and preventing questionable comments from being filed, and generally speaking, this agency has erred on the side of openness, we want to encourage people to participate in as easy an accessible a way as possible.
Of course, this is not new: fake comments were filed in the 2014-15 proceeding under names like Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, and Stalin, just to name a few. This time around I think the bottom line is I urge everyone who’s interested in this issue to participate in the process in an honest and forthright way, and that is, I think, the best way to make sure your voice is heard.
You can read the full story on Forbes: Victims Demand FCC Remove Fake Anti-Net Neutrality Comments.
Do not sit by and let Ajit Pai destroy the internet. Speak up. Speak loud. Protest and resist. Millions stood up to defend and support net neutrality the first time around, and that same level of effort can help protect the progress we’ve made so far.