back to article Democrats go on the offensive over fake FCC net neut'y cyberattack

The debacle surrounding a false cyberattack on US federal regulator the FCC is heading to Congress, with politicians accusing its chairman of a "dereliction of duty." Four Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter [PDF] to Ajit Pai in advance of a hearing this Thursday demanding to know what he knew …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Witch hunts sometimes don't start at the top.

    This case is one of them. Pai took the high road in this, granted. Yet, there's still too many screaming for his head on other matters. But politics makes for strange bedfellows and even stranger decisions at times. I'm not defending the actions that he should be held accountable for but in this case, one has to be fair. The CIO rightly fell on his sword over it.

    Pai shouldn't be let off the hook on the other issues and maybe Congress will regain some common sense (if they ever had any) and go for what he's done for his buds at Sinclair and also for big cable with the net neutrality fiasco.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Witch hunts sometimes don't start at the top.

      Pai did the right thing here, yes - but doesn't that make his hyper-partisanal statement, quoted at the end of the article, even more anomalous?

      I think that statement was baiting a trap, and the Democrats have predictably walked right into it. That makes two in as many weeks. Honestly, I begin to despair of American politics ever returning to sanity.

      1. Kane Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Witch hunts sometimes don't start at the top.

        "Honestly, I begin to despair of American politics ever returning to sanity."

        Returning.

        Hah!

  2. Zarno
    Trollface

    I remember...

    I remember making a joke in the commentards section asking what the difference between a DDoS and people actually flogging an insufficiently designed site was.

    Glad to know I was on the right track!

    1. elDog Silver badge

      Re: I remember...

      I think some deeper delving would find that the web/network administrators had been told to return 401/500/whatever errors to queries that weren't praising the FCC/Pai/Dump.

  3. Donn Bly
    Thumb Up

    Thank you for a balanced article

    Those who follow my past comments know that I have periodically pointed out what I felt was rather one-sided reporting by this reporter, that his articles on FCC matters often felt more like propaganda than technology press. This article, however, was much better -- Balanced and calling out the FCC on where they failed, but instead of jumping on the bandwagon correctly pointing out many of the current attacks against the FCC and Pai are partisan politics and not policy-related.

    Kieren, thank you for a well-written and balanced article.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thank you for a balanced article

      It does seem less visceral than usual. However, near the end is this:

      "And the FCC should be embarrassed. Particularly over the fact that FCC leadership consciously ignored a clear majority of comments that were opposed to its plan because it wasn't in their interests to do so."

      Personally I'd rather not see US policy making turned over to whoever can gin up the most comments, calls, or whatever. It's inherently biased towards the noisiest among us.

  4. DCFusor Silver badge

    Some of the above?

    Well, it's known that John Oliver, by providing a direct link into the site which normally took quite a bit of futzing around to get to the comment section, did his part - and surely drove some traffic that the site wasn't ready for - an embarrassment to an agency that's supposed to you know, understand the tech they regulate.

    Nothing I see here covers the zilliions of obviously fake comments called out by people whose names were used fraudulently, mostly on "form letters" and in favor of Pai's actions (and the telecom biz). Who in fact would have all the necessary info to create those fake comments, since they have their customer lists.

    Oh, look, a squirrel!

    Just because one lie/error was exposed (maybe) doesn't mean you've gotten to the bottom of the whole deal now. There's a bit more to this.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Some of the above?

      Exactly. Pai is still a lying shit weasel corporate tool.

      As for "partisanship", my friends, this is everyday politics.

      As for Pai's excuse, it's just another version of "I don't recall, your honor."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Some of the above?

      > "Nothing I see here covers the zilliions of obviously fake comments called out by people whose names were used fraudulently, mostly on "form letters" and in favor of Pai's actions (and the telecom biz)."

      This site has a detailed analysis of the 2014 FCC Comment controversy, specifically the FCC-released comments collection itself. Basically both sides made heavy use of automated form comments, so you cannot say it's just the anti-NN people.

      Considering how public debates like this usually run, I'd say the majority of those comments came from the left.

  5. JLV Silver badge

    Maybe the whole sorry thing happened because they were using a 25 Mbps “broadband” pipe for comments hosting @ FCC? You know, eat-your-own-dogfood, slumming like the plebs ;-)

    good balanced article though !

  6. armster

    The buck stops at the top

    To say Pai acted wonderfully in a crisis is a bit rich. He is in charge of the FCC. If they hire inept personnel at the CIO level that is on him. Of course he is not to blame for a non-existing traffic analysis, but he is to blame for running a mayor organization with a website that falls over under heavy usage. He is even more to blame for relying on staff at the top level that essentially lie to him.

  7. Big Al 23

    Pai is still damaging society

    IMO Pai is completely removed from reality and not serving the best interest of the populace. Blocking Net neutrality is just one serious issue with the FCC. Allowing cable and telco companies to abuse and extort consumers is totally unacceptable.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Pai is still damaging society

      How many times does the liberally biased concepts that were labeled as "net neutrality" (which isn't neutrality) need to be explained before it becomes OBVIOUS that removing Obaka-era regulations from a 'bounds overstepping' FCC was a *GOOD* thing?

      The intarwebs survived for a couple of DECADES without such regulation, which basically threatened to prevent someone from PAYING EXTRA to get prioritized traffic. That means EVERYONE EQUALLY MEDIOCRE. That's like SOCIALISM. Except, in socialism, "the elite" will ALWAYS 'get theirs'.

      If ISPs can allow providers to PRIORITIZE, and they pay EXTRA to do it, or allow CUSTOMERS to "get priority traffic" at that higher priority (by paying extra), as long as the overall average isn't screwed over in the process, then EVERYONE will WIN. It THEN becomes a matter of choice, as to "which brand" you want, effectively. Otherwise we'll all be stuck with PRICE CONTROLS, effectively, and NO choice.

      But this was about ONLY "the elites" getting THEIRS, and forcing "the masses" to have "the mediocre". THIS is the evils of socialist thinking, because you're not helping by trying to EQUALIZE OUTCOMES. Those who EARN more should be able to SPEND MORE to get BETTER. This is the incentive to EARN MORE. If there's no point in earning more, why bother? Then things start to stagnate, PARTICULARLY in the overall economy, and you ultimately get VENEZUELA.

      Instead, I'd like to choose between getting a Chevy or a Cadillac. If I can afford the Cadillac, I should be able to get that if I want it. Or if I can't, get the Chevy. NO point in forcing ALL Cadillac owners to ONLY be able to get the Chevy.

      That is, unless you're one of those anti-1% fascists SOCIALIST types...

      (if you work hard, prepare yourself, take the risks, and BECOME "one of the 1%" shouldn't you be able to KEEP THE REWARDS of the preparation, hard work, and risks?)

      Pai (and the Trump administration) is *RIGHT* about _REMOVING_ so-called "net neutrality" regulations from the FCC. It was WRONG to have done it in the FIRST place.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Pai is still damaging society

        "That means EVERYONE EQUALLY MEDIOCRE. That's like SOCIALISM. Except, in socialism, "the elite" will ALWAYS 'get theirs'."

        One, is it not better to be sure everyone gets their daily bread instead of some feasting and others starving, IOW steady flow instead of boom-and-bust? Plus, what about things like healthcare where lives are at stake? Do you just tell the poor to FOAD?

        And two, how do the elite "get theirs" as you so put it?

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Pai is still damaging society

          That is not how any of that works. Net neutrality means that the people running the communication systems can't send some traffic faster than they would ordinarily, and the reason for that is that the only way to do so involves taking something else and slowing it down. It is not that you can't buy faster speeds; you can. Get more powerful servers and high-speed data links and believe me, you'll see your speeds skyrocket. What the net neutrality people advocate is that you can't buy someone else having a worse time. For example, there is not an "expensive car lane" that allows those who have paid more for their cars to bypass traffic, even if they pay for it.

          This is usually the reason that companies want to have the ability to change speeds; coms company C wants more money. Video streaming company V wants their competitors out of the way. If V pays C to make all of V's content faster, thus making it a better experience than competitors W, X, Y, and Z, then eventually people stop buying service from W, X, Y, and Z. The two possible options are for W, X, Y, and Z to fail, causing consumers pain because their options have been lost, or for W, X, Y, and Z also to pay C for faster connections. This makes the services of V-Z more expensive, as some of the money the people pay has to go to C for the we-won't-choose-to-kill-your-business tax, and it harms any other business that wants to stream video. In fact, it hurts any other business, period.

      2. Aedile

        Re: Pai is still damaging society

        I want you to explain how "everyone will win" if ISPs can charge for a "fast lane". I ask this because you routinely rant about how evil Facebook and Google are. If you allow ISPs to charge for a fast lane guess who will be able to easily pay for that? Google and Facebook. Guess who won't. Every other start up that may be better. I also assume you think that the additional profits the ISPs will collect from these fees will be spent on improving their networks. Again you are clearly insane since they have no incentive to do so because they have zero competition. I am completely confused by your claim "it then becomes a matter of choice, as to what brand you want" since in the majority of the US people have 1 or 2 ISPs offering over 25 Mbps. This point is also why your analogy about Chevy and Cadillac fails. People can't get a Cadillac because they aren't offered in the same area where Chevys are sold.

        1. Comments are attributed to your handle
          Facepalm

          Re: Pai is still damaging society

          I've lost count of how many times Bob has made these fallacious arguments (which as you say ultimately rest upon the fairytale of ISP competition). Everytime someone calls him on it he cowers back into his hidey-hole, but not before collecting his 2 upvotes (one undoubtedly from Big John). And of course all the while screaming SOCIALISM. Just ignore him. It's a waste of (precious) bytes to try and engage him.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. ma1010 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    The article is right, but...

    I'm sorry, but I'm extremely opinionated and partisan (like most Americans, I guess). I despise that little sock puppet of big telco which are screwing over hundreds of millions of Americans, providing mediocre to poor service at nosebleed prices. He doesn't even PRETEND to give a shit about American consumers or anything that would benefit them if it costs big telco a dime.

    As far as I'm concerned, if they brought Pai up on witchcraft charges, I'd cheer. Anything to get rid of that miserable assbag.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019