Victims Whose Names Were Used In Fake FCC Comments Call For Investigation

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AgentLozen

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What kind of person would make a botnet that fills the FCC with fake comments that supports killing net neutrality. I was under the impression that, generally speaking, net neutrality was good for the internet. The only people who seem to oppose it are those who are horribly misinformed or companies that directly benefit from the death of net neutrality.

Assuming this is a single person sitting in their basement cobbling together a list of names and fake comments to send to the FCC, this person would have to belong to the later group. Right? Is there anyone well informed that still wants to kill net neutrality? Some Cisco Certified Internet Architect that hates net neutrality?

I dunno. This whole situation doesn't make any sense. The only explanation that I can come up with is that a party that stands to benefit from the death of net neutrality has hired a hacker to spam the FCC with false comments. Aren't these big companies supposed to operate in a respectful and lawful way? And if they don't, shouldn't they be subject to the same criminal consequences that everyone else is?
 

ammaross

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Depends on their age and experience level. Also may depend on how serious they take the project on whether they decide to go above and beyond the scope of the original request. Could easily be someone (out of country) hired via Freelance or the like, being paid $200 for a quick'n'dirty job.
 

jeremy2020

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It's rather obvious someone was hired to generate the fake responses. PAI and his cretins are saying that they favor "inclusiveness" which is why they're not looking into removing the comments.....rofl.
 

nzalog

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Have you not been seeing the pattern of what is going on lately? Policies that only benefit special interests and the rich are being put into place with very little regard to how it may harm our country. Even the people that were put in charge of the FCC are against net neutrality. We no longer matter for the next few coming years... best we can do is make our voice heard.
 

bit_user

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Some corporate entity or corporate-funded special interest group that stands to gain from it.

It could even be a large share holder (or group thereof) of telecomms stocks, and therefore might not even be a US citizen or US-based organization. Like a big hedge fund or, worse yet, sovereign wealth fund of a big country like Saudi Arabia or China. Not to be overly conspiratorial, but someone did it who stood to gain enough to more than offset the cost of doing it.
 

bit_user

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In this case, I think that's right. I don't know that the named individuals have any grounds to sue the government, so they'd need the government to undertake an investigation.

Anyway, what I think this shows is that these types of public comment things are probably now & forever broken. At least, in a society where you don't have some sort of government-issued ID (thinking of China, here).

In free & open societies, I can only see these sorts of exploits continuing. We definitely don't want to follow China's model, here, but then I'm not sure what's the answer.
 

hahmed330

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AT&T, VERIZON, SPRINT, Mercers heck it could have been Ajat Pai's hired botnet army. As any Tom, Dick and Harry could hired a swarm of botnet by dialling 111-111-BOT.
 

abbadon_34

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Honestly I don't think public comments ever figure into top end policy decisions. Especially regulators who, while required to receive public comments, are not elected and thus not responsible to the public.
 

alextheblue

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Those who consider themselves so "well informed" on any side are often the most closed-minded and arrogant. After all, they know everything, why listen to opposing views? I've already discussed this at length, but the short version is that I oppose the implementation, rather than the original "spirit". In my case I hate that it forces ISPs to treat all packets alike regardless of type. Not all packets are equal, and they should not be treated equally. Real-time traffic should get higher priority, as non-real-time traffic (which is most traffic) is not latency sensitive. In other words, QoS or traffic shaping. There's no downside to this sort of packet discrimination. It's a technique to optimize traffic to improve end-user experiences (such as when playing games online, or during video conferences), which is prohibited under NN.

With that being said, they shouldn't be allowed to treat traffic differently based only on the source. Thus ending "fast lanes" and throttling of competitors or services they just don't like. That part of NN is good. They should still be allowed to throttle abusers at an individual subscriber level - I don't believe NN interferes with that. But as I mentioned above they should *also* be allowed to discriminate based on the type of traffic (RT vs non-RT). Implementation of this would be tricky, but what they have done was actually worse from a network standpoint than staying out of it. Again, NN prohibits this traffic shaping, and this has various side effects for the future of the internet as traffic levels continue to skyrocket - especially if you're trying to keep costs in check.

Edit: And no, using local traffic shaping on your internal network does NOT solve this problem. People keep bringing up local QoS like it's a fix, so I figured this time I should preempt this "idea". It allows a heavily loaded local router (lots of local users) keep real-time traffic flowing acceptably within your network, but it doesn't help the packets once they leave your network.
 

nzalog

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While you have great ideas on how this could be positive, some potential of small positive benefits do not outweigh the huge potential for abuse.

Here is an example... most companies that can sell your information, do. You have the option to opt-out of some information sharing but I'd think most customers don't want their info shared by default. So why isn't the default to not share your info and opt-in if you want more ads and spam addressed to you? Right because they don't care what you want and care about what makes them more money.

So... just looking at how companies treat the power they already have and you'll understand that giving companies a small potential for improvement and a huge potential for abuse isn't a good idea for consumers.
 

bit_user

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This makes you sound very close-minded and arrogant. A lot of people would stop reading your response right here.


I've also long held this position. But I never counted myself as a NN opponent. I consider this a detail that can be sorted out, once the basic fundamentals of equal access are appropriately protected.

The thing is that most of NN's opponents also don't want you sending realtime traffic over the net. Telecomms would much rather you use your cell phone. And cable companies would also like to sell you a separate land line connection. Neither of them really care how good your online gaming experience is.

So, killing NN doesn't necessarily help achieve your goals.
 

alextheblue

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I was trying to imply that all of these supposedly "well informed" people aren't actually well informed at all. Hence the quotation marks. They're about as far from a network engineer as you can possibly get, yet they feel they know everything and shut down any discussion. It's pretty obvious that I'm discussing both the pros and cons and that I'm not against everything it stands for. If they stop reading right there and power down critical thought, they're just proving my point.

I've yet to see any credible evidence that NN opponents oppose real-time traffic. In fact traffic shaping is specifically designed to aid latency-sensitive traffic. In most cases even if you use your cell phone, they still need traffic shaping depending on whether the traffic is RT or non-RT. Facetime, Skype, etc - all RT traffic. Even regular voice calls in many cases - VoLTE? Packets. Some countries have a version of NN which allows ISPs to set aside separate bandwidth for certain services. Not in the USA.

Your argument about passing it and fixing is later is much more interesting but here's the thing... how often does bad legislation actually get fixed? How often do we see examples of them cramming legislation in there because "we have to do it RIGHT NOW and don't bother reading anything". It's actually harder to fix something after they pass it. Half of them don't want anyone to touch it, and the other half can't agree on the best way to fix it. It would have been better to not pass anything, and take the time to craft something that works for most parties involved (including the ISPs).

So it's not that I oppose NN, but it's that I oppose the garbage they sold as "Net Neutrality". Meanwhile so many are told what to believe about NN "The internet will die without it!" "It's about Free Speech, my professor told me so!" "Civil rights or something!" and don't bother questioning any of the rhetoric. I had a discussion with my nephew about it - he's in college - and he was pro-NN until I got him to face the fact that he actually knew very little about it, and he had no idea that it prohibited traffic shaping (he's also a gamer). He was only ever given one side of the argument. Education in America is all about diversity... except for diversity of thought.
 

nzalog

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Seems like you're just humble bragging here because no one needs to be a network engineer to understand this subject or what's at stake here. Hell, based on this thread and your exchanges it seems like the opposite would be true. Sure, if we could trust each and every company to do what is best for consumers then you'd be right but unfortunately I think we could sooner trust all of them to do what is best for their bottom lines and not their customers. Most ISPs are already a monopoly and they have no incentives to try to win their customers over. Pretty sure you're already well aware of this but you just want to come off as some authority on the subject.

 

alextheblue

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You keep bringing up random unrelated things. I'm not against all Net Neutrality. I'm talking about how our current crappy US-specific NN law prevents traffic shaping. I'm saying any good NN law needs to incorporate provisions for ISPs to shape traffic based on the type of traffic (real-time vs async), while preventing them from hindering traffic based on the source. I wasn't arguing about any other aspect of the law, monopolies, trust, any other random things.

But for your edification NN does not do squat about ISP monopolies, including local government-created monopolies. Nor does it do squat about the rampant data collection going on in your digital life. Not that ISPs do nearly as much farming as outfits like Google and FB, but nobody seems to care about that for some reason. Google/FB would be staunchly opposed to any NN law that prevented them from farming your data. NN also has nothing to do with "free speech" or "civil rights" or any other crazy arguments. Free speech on most of the internet isn't really protected anyway - 99% of posts are hosted on private-owned sites that can and do censor (filter, moderate, etc) your speech. I could say things here that Tom's mods consider inappropriate (even if I didn't actually say anything that would get me in trouble with the law in public) and get my post censored. That's just a fact of life on the internet - private sites can restrict free speech in any manner they choose, since it's their site. NN does nothing to address this, nor would I expect it to.

People keep saying "there's a lot at stake" but they don't actually know what's at stake. Was life before Net Neutrality a harsh world? What did we gain, really? How has your life changed? Yes, we will eventually need some form of NN but a good NN law needs to prohibit ISPs from throttling third parties without forcing ISPs to cease using useful modern techniques that improve network performance for their users.
 

nzalog

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This is just the nature of partisan policies. So like i said that yes, there are some benefits to having some exception for prioritizing certain traffic but making a simple rule to not allow it makes it very clear cut and easy to enforce. Once you start making complicated laws it's not only hard to understand but slowly they will lose their intended purpose as companies create loopholes. Soon companies will prioritize and encode traffic in a certain format just so it can appease some law then decode it elsewhere, you don't want to leave those possibilities open as there is just too much left to interpretation. The internet is still in it's infancy... if you think things can't get worse because they've been just fine, you'd be quite wrong.
 

bit_user

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There's a separate set of rules governing Cellular communications traffic, so please don't muddy the waters. I was talking about wire-line connectivity, only.


All the time, unless one faction digs in its heels to try and completely derail it.


Um, preventing ISPs from erecting a toll road at my front door is not garbage. That's the main point. I don't see how you can call that garbage.


You'll find editorializing on any issue of importance. If you side against something just because you don't like what some people are saying about it, you're just as much of a tool as people who blindly accept what they're being told about it.

I happen to agree that we'll see a lot less innovation, without it. I also think it's a very real concern that political parties and nonprofits could find it much more expensive to operate, especially if they don't want to use one of the big commercial platforms, like Facebook.

Of course there are exaggerations and oversimplifications. Again, that's par for the course. As old as politics. But I think most of the arguments for net neutrality are legit.
 

bit_user

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The point about ISP monopolies is relevant because a common counter-argument against NN is that competition and capitalism will keep ISPs in check. This is obviously laughable, as I think you'd agree, since far too many markets don't have real competition. Even those that do have "stable" competition, where there can be a race to the bottom, even without any explicit collusion.


But that's not a good argument against it, right? There can & should be separate laws governing data collection & retention. It's not like there can be only one US law governing the Internet and it must cover every single aspect anyone cares about.

I don't see what's gained by combining the issues. In fact, it would make it far more difficult to get through.


See my above post for how those arguments are relevant. They're only indirectly related.

IMO, they're legit points, but abstract ones that I'd agree have been overemphasized, possibly by some in the Pro camp to win over people they fear are too ignorant or apathetic to care otherwise, but possibly also by well-meaning individuals who lack the sophistication to properly follow the case for NN.

Somebody could have a really bad argument for a good law, but that doesn't mean it's a bad law. Just a bad argument. You don't have to agree with their point to agree that it's a good law.


This is a bad argument. It's like saying in 1920 that we don't need speed limits on roads b/c we never had them and speeding wasn't generally a problem. It ignores the increasing sophistication of ISPs and communications technology. It also ignores the soft deterrent that might've been preventing ISPs from acting too brashly - for fear of provoking a reaction like NN or worse. However, when NN is actively struck down, it's basically a green light to the telecomms industry to do whatever they want.
 

bit_user

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I'll agree with Alex, on this point. A broken political system doesn't justify making flawed laws. Laws should be neither too simplistic nor too complex to address the problem with which they're concerned. Put another way, the sin of over-complication doesn't justify oversimplification. Either one leaves loopholes or unjustly disadvantages someone.


That's not what we're saying. We just want ISPs to be able to charge a different rate for realtime traffic, and to let it be prioritized over other traffic, on their internal networks.

But there could be transparency requirements that ISPs report aggregate & worst-case statistics on packet loss of non-realtime traffic, to minimize the chance of them using this to ratchet up their rate structure by forcing people to reclassify all their traffic as realtime just to avoid excessive drops. These sorts of things are pretty standard, for utilities.


I'd say it's in its adolescence, really. It's definitely got some acne and hair growing in funny places. But it's still developing, and we don't want to stifle it by letting ISPs effectively kill off new applications due to greed or for anti-competitive reasons.


I couldn't have said it better.
 

bit_user

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I don't know if you're being sarcastic, but I'm a bit of a news junkie and enjoy indulging in a bit of thoughtful debate. Even if no one reads my posts, I still think it's good mental exercise to consider different arguments and try to formulate a coherent response.

I knew I'd have a lot to say about this, so I deferred catching up on the thread until last night.

BTW, I appreciate your time & perspectives, alex & nzalog. Also, nzalog gets a gold star for inviting thoughtful dissent.

...and, let's not forget that our thoughts and opinions don't amount to a hill of beans, right now. NN is dead, and that's not about to change. Maybe it'll get reincarnated, but something tells me that might be a heavier lift than getting it through, the first time.
 

bit_user

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Oh, and I guess don't bother posting any public comments on the FCC's site. They'll probably get drowned in so much spam, and maybe your info will get harvested for future spam comments there or elsewhere.
 

bit_user

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BTW, it occurred to me that maybe some are considering blocking of protocols like Bittorrent to be a sort of "freedom of speech" issue.

Also, I wonder how gamers would feel if Comcast & Verizon started buying up games publishers and advantaging access (either by cost or traffic shaping) to their online games properties. Time Warner already has Cable and Interactive divisions, so maybe they'll lead the way.
 
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