Skip to main content

New York Attorney General Releases Fake FCC Comment-Finding Tool

By now, you’ve probably heard something about the impending reversal of net neutrality regulations by the FCC. From when the FCC first announced the proposal to the situation we’re facing today, the issue has been, and continues to be, fraught with controversy. The FCC has apparently used a number of tactics to both limit the apparent backlash against and feign support for its proposals.

When an episode of Last Week Tonight incited a massive fury of comments that took down the FCC’s website, the FCC claimed instead that it had been targeted by a DDOS attack orchestrated by net neutrality supporters. Later, Redditors found a large amount of bot-submitted comments in the FCC database supporting net neutrality repeal. People who had found that their identity had been used to submit fraudulent comments penned an open letter to the FCC asking for an investigation.

In his own letter to the FCC, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman revealed that the FCC has probably not begun any investigation of its own and has also stone-walled external investigation. Schneiderman said his office began investigating the fraudulent comments six months ago after it discovered that a number of comments were posted with the identities of New Yorkers. As Schneiderman states in his letter to FCC chairman Ajit Pai:

We reached out for assistance to multiple top FCC officials, including you, three successive acting FCC General Counsels, and the FCC’s Inspector General. We offered to keep the requested records confidential, as we had done when my office and the FCC shared information and documents as part of past investigative work.Yet we have received no substantive response to our investigative requests. None.

In order to support its investigation, the Office of the Attorney General has released a tool to help New Yorkers find out if their identity has been used to post a fraudulent comment on the FCC’s website. The search on the FCC website can take a while, and it may appear unresponsive, but it will return a result eventually. If an individual finds that their name is associated with fraudulent comments, they can use the link to submit a claim. Schneiderman’s responsibility is to the people of New York, but the tool will work the same for anyone.

If you’re not a New Yorker, you can use a similar tool that helps you submit a real comment to the FCC. Whichever tool you use, and whether or not you find that your identity has been misused, we at Tom’s Hardware strongly urge you to join the fight for net neutrality.

  • mihen
    I am against net neutrality. Changing Communication companies from title 1 to title 2 gives the FCC a lot of power to censor the internet. It also does not require the FCC to create a Net Neutrality rule. As written in 2015 it gave the FCC regulatory power that supports the worst of croni-capitalism with vague guidelines that are difficult to comply to. It would also make networks freakishly slow to block certain traffic for certain users as is fear-mongered currently. After all it takes hundreds of milliseconds to reference a database on every single packet verse a universal IP check like what happens now with throttling or unlimited data.
    Reply
  • wiyosaya
    20446634 said:
    I am against net neutrality. Changing Communication companies from title 1 to title 2 gives the FCC a lot of power to censor the internet. It also does not require the FCC to create a Net Neutrality rule. As written in 2015 it gave the FCC regulatory power that supports the worst of croni-capitalism with vague guidelines that are difficult to comply to. It would also make networks freakishly slow to block certain traffic for certain users as is fear-mongered currently. After all it takes hundreds of milliseconds to reference a database on every single packet verse a universal IP check like what happens now with throttling or unlimited data.
    And yet without those rules, Comcast already throttled Netflix content until Netflix paid an additional "fee" so that Comcast would not throttle their content.
    Reply
  • mihen
    That's a universal throttling where they would only need to do 1 check per packet. How it's sold right now, the fear is that ISPs will make service packs to access certain sites. Without the site being connected directly to the ISPs network, it would be very slow to check who the packet is from, where it is going, and if they are allowed to receive the packet.
    Doing such a thing can also create public backlash like what happened with games in the mid to late 2000s and peer to peer networking this decade. Or backlash from licensing deals with other companies like Cogent or L3 Networks.
    Reply
  • tech4
    20446819 said:
    That's a universal throttling where they would only need to do 1 check per packet. How it's sold right now, the fear is that ISPs will make service packs to access certain sites. Without the site being connected directly to the ISPs network, it would be very slow to check who the packet is from, where it is going, and if they are allowed to receive the packet.
    Doing such a thing can also create public backlash like what happened with games in the mid to late 2000s and peer to peer networking this decade. Or backlash from licensing deals with other companies like Cogent or L3 Networks.

    Net Neutrality is what we have now, it prevents ISPs from prioritizing certain data and potentially making the service packs you mention. Ajit is trying to take it away. Saying you are against net neutrality would be saying you are for his changes which would allow the very things you are describing that you are against.
    Reply
  • toadhammer
    20446634 said:
    I am against net neutrality. Changing Communication companies from title 1 to title 2 gives the FCC a lot of power to censor the internet. It also does not require the FCC to create a Net Neutrality rule. As written in 2015 it gave the FCC regulatory power that supports the worst of croni-capitalism with vague guidelines that are difficult to comply to. It would also make networks freakishly slow to block certain traffic for certain users as is fear-mongered currently. After all it takes hundreds of milliseconds to reference a database on every single packet verse a universal IP check like what happens now with throttling or unlimited data.

    For 20-some years, the internet was left to itself with the idea that by keeping it untouched, keeping the playing field level and open, its services untaxed, etc, all that would cause it to be an engine of innovation and growth. And that is exactly what happened. If you say that adding regulation on top of that "is bad", I can understand. Makes sense. (A lot of your words don't make sense and just sound like a lot of noise. Try again without political talking points.) But the internet has been different from that utopia (dumpster fire :) ?) for about 10 years now.

    The problem is that ISPs decided it was a cash cow that they could abuse for a buck. ISPs wanted to claim they were selling speeds and capacities without actually spending money to build an infrastructure supporting those speeds and capacities. And then they blamed the internet itself for causing the problem, and decided they needed to pick very specific services or businesses to block or throttle (like torrents, or FaceTime, or Netflix) to make themselves look better. And because the customer density is best in cities, they wanted to ignore even that bit of infrastructure spending everywhere else.

    And it's not just ISPs that cashed in. States wanted to reclaim sale tax from online purchases, because the innovation and disruption to old business models means states are losing tax money from brick and mortar stores going out of business.

    All of this is against the original spirit of the internet, but we've been out of that for at least 10 years. Sales tax is a lost cause. ISPs maltreating their customers and internet services happened but was already solved 2 years ago. The decision in 2015 gave the FCC the power to stop ISPs from dicking around with other companies' business. It's that simple. That stopped throttling, etc, and everyone moved past it. ISPs didn't magically go out of business, or stop growing, or start having any of the problems Ajit Pai claims have ruined them.

    The notion that a cellphone is a good enough internet connection for a rural home business (or any non-urban, really) is ludicrous. Ajit saying that ISPs have already exceeded what's required in those markets by redefining what broadband is....SMH.

    Not all of this is necessarily wrapped up in the "net neutrality" fight, but all of this ugly package is part of the current FCC commissioner's goal for the future of the internet. Now that all these telecom executives smell money, there really is no way back to the completely unregulated world. I honestly believe the best way forward is to treat internet the same way as phone or gas or electricity. ISPs have to provide the service, are allowed a small amount of leeway and profit, but there are standards in terms of what they must provide that are consistent across the country including rural communities, and the standards actually meet the customers' needs.

    -edit-
    And I'm not saying internet access is a right, any more than gas or electricity is a right. But it is a fundamental commodity that you can no more live and function without in modern society than you can do without a phone or electricity.
    Reply
  • ravewulf
    How can anyone (except those representing an ISP) still support this repeal with all the shady stuff they're pulling to force it through?
    Reply
  • jdog2pt0
    20447456 said:
    How can anyone (except those representing an ISP) still support this repeal with all the shady stuff they're pulling to force it through?

    Ignorance is mainly what I'm seeing. Those in favor of repealing (at least with what I've seen, like with mihen) are unable to form cohesive arguments for the repeal, and end up a lot of times contradicting themselves. I suspect it has to do with the MSM spreading bogus, or half truths on behalf of the ISP's to confuse the consumers into thinking net neutrality is evil. Similar to what they were doing during the elections. The repeal could have far reaching consequences unfortunately. It's funny, even the Finnish owner of the Hydraulic Press Channel on Youtube made a comment about us needing to keep Net Neutrality in place.
    Reply
  • derekullo
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, the pursuit of Happiness and a 50 megabit minimum symmetric broadband connection to the internet.
    Reply
  • tamalero
    20446634 said:
    I am against net neutrality. Changing Communication companies from title 1 to title 2 gives the FCC a lot of power to censor the internet. It also does not require the FCC to create a Net Neutrality rule. As written in 2015 it gave the FCC regulatory power that supports the worst of croni-capitalism with vague guidelines that are difficult to comply to. It would also make networks freakishly slow to block certain traffic for certain users as is fear-mongered currently. After all it takes hundreds of milliseconds to reference a database on every single packet verse a universal IP check like what happens now with throttling or unlimited data.

    This lie has been perpetuated by bots so many times its disturbing.
    There is a single zero reason to see the FCC doing these kind of censoring. The only ones capable of doing such a thing is the current president and his chronic defensive and biased instance pro Verizon (he worked for them you know.. as a lawyer) and with the help of Trump's cabinet.

    In the other hand, the carriers already have censored and blocked content. Thats why Obama pushed the net neutrality rule.
    Carriers OUTRIGHT BLOCKED or throttled competing products, even blocking VOIP and other signals on purpose. Shifting the blame to these companies when the clients complained about no service or failing service (like they did with Netflix)

    Removing net neutrality will also allow carriers to block websites or throttle them if they do not pay ransom style requests by the carriers themselves. Putting most competitors, smaller companies and even end users at risk.

    Verizon who owns tumblr actively has been blocking, censoring, removing anything that says net neutrality in that social network. No surprise they would try to deterr, block, censor, remove and other things in a more cinical way once they get the net neutrality removed.

    Users are already paying to have the internet service to link to ALL the internet.
    The removal of net neutrality will only allow the carriers to increase prices or make "packages", leaving other sites in the dust.

    To resume, educate yourself.
    Carriers do not care about its users as long they are paying.
    And in many areas, these users do not have a choice in carriers to use. Therefore Carriers will do whatever they want in places theres monopolies.
    Now include the fact that many republican controlled states, have blocked the installation of new internet providers in certain towns.. Things are worse with these artificial monopolies.

    Also Its worse if you do a call back to memory lane. Where some ISPS got huge grants of money to improve their networks to push for innovation and advancement of technology. Most companies did NOTHING.
    They just moved these grants as part of their own money and delivered their executives huge bonuses with no improvements to back it up.


    https://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/6c5e97/eli5_how_were_isps_able_to_pocket_the_200_billion/

    To resume.. when the FCC is lead by corrupted baboons related to the companies themselves.. Nothing good happens.
    And nothing good will result from Ajit Pai's tenure other than him getting gorgeous paychecks.



    Reply
  • Wisecracker
    Give Ajit Pai some credit ...

    In a few short months as FCC Chairman, he has elevated his game to a level whereby he is now challenging Martin Shkreli as "History's Biggest Douchebag"

    Reply