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FCC admits it was never actually hacked (techcrunch.com)
494 points by placatedmayhem 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 148 comments



"I am deeply disappointed that the FCC’s former [CIO], who was hired by the prior Administration and is no longer with the Commission, provided inaccurate information about this incident to me, my office, Congress, and the American people. "

The first envelope is open. Next up: reorganisation.


No admission of responsibility of course, just scapegoating. I find it highly likely that Pai and his like-minded cronies were in on this the whole time.



Why would he have posted such trollish pictures of himself if he weren't?

He got real serious suddenly when that nutter threatened his family.


A real-life consequence for abhorrent behavior? I’m all for that. Maybe not quite that extreme, but I think public shaming of these people and their friends/family is acceptable. They don’t seem to respond to anything else these days.


A lesson the political and billionaire class have not learned is that when inequality gets as bad as what we have today the mob gets actual pitchforks and assassins start throwing bombs in your carriages and shooting at your motorcade.

Repression follows, more assassinations happen, and then before you know it Serbian meddling in the Austro-Hungarian succession starts WWI.

This is not limited to the countries ending in -ia in Central/Eastern Europe [0] [1].

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1919_United_States_anarchist_b...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wall_Street_bombing


It's not inequality. It's almost never pure inequality. It's poverty going below a specific threshold, usually hunger or homelessness.

And when was there a movement like this in the US post-prosperity (WW2)? Your links are from 100 years ago.


It's extreme economic shocks generally. As in sudden changes in economic conditions that lead to a rapid and pervasive decline in living conditions. It's clearly not any absolute level of poverty. The poverty level that will trigger war in Bangladesh is far lower than what would trigger war in the US. And a country at South Sudanese levels of poverty going to a slightly higher level of development (say Bangladeshi levels) wouldn't trigger conflict, even if they were still far worse off than levels that would trigger war in better off countries. But the absolute floor at which war (or widespread systemic violence and civil unrest at least) becomes almost inevitable is when people can no longer afford food. There have been a few studies that suggest a link between sudden increases in food prices and civil unrest and wars.


Yeah, you're right, that's probably the best description. Economic shocks or a handful of other shocks (such as forced enrollment in a risky endeavor, e.g. being drafted into the army).


Things got pretty bad during the Vietnam war. There is a reason why the draft was abolished.


Wasn't that because of the draft, though? That counts as "major" since you're being shipped off to be killed. But how likely is a new Vietnam? US involvement in wars doesn't require a draft anymore...

My point, inequality itself is rarely the trigger. It needs to pass a limit, usually threatening livelihood. And it needs to be super widespread (think 20%+ of the population).


Males 18-25 still have to register for the draft, there are just enough voulenteers currently


The hungry and homeless generally don't involve in political violence. Terrorists arise from well-to-do middle class.


Their are over 1 million homeless people in the US in the average year. The issue is more when people that could not conceive of being homeless start to be homeless that you get revolutions.


There are two things that prevent that -

- politicians have been able to convince poor people that the “American Dream” is alive. That if you work hard you can become rich and you are just “temporarily poor”.

- You would be better off if “they” weren’t taking your jobs.


If we take everything you've said here as fact you have only explained why right wing white conservatives are not conducting assassinations against the Democrats.

Mexican undocumented migrant laborers have none of those excuses yet they are not waging a campaign of terror against the GOP.


It’s been the traditional Republican talking point st least since Reagan that you just “need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps” to get ahead. Even now, there is the mistaken belief of equal opportunity when statistics show that income mobility is not that great. (https://phys.org/news/2017-04-upward-mobility-fallen-sharply...). Republicans have been trying to sell “trickle down economics for thirty years - that if you cut taxes on the rich, not only will help the poor immediately, but when they get rich, it will help them too.

Undocumented migrant labors don’t feel entitled to the “American Dream”, they wouldn’t be waging terror against the GOP.

While Black people and affirmative action is no longer the scape goat for why rural America is suffering, now it’s illegal aliens and unfair trade practices.


Except none of that happens anymore because we built a prison around ourselves to prevent it. No one with anything to lose will resist.


No. Not friends and family. That's not how we get nice things.


Pai will work for one of the big media (cable) companies like Comcast when he leaves office.


I think it’s now the norm to just photocopy off the first envelope a few hundred times.


On the company's copier, of course. You don't want to have to pay for something like that yourself, like some pleb, do you?


What's the envelope reference mean?


The story of three envelopes is a business classic for dysfunctional organizations. It starts with an incoming manager replacing a recently fired outgoing manager. On his way out, the outgoing manager hands the new manager three envelopes and remarks, "when things get tough, open these one at a time."

About three months goes by and things start to get rough. The manager opens his drawer where he keeps the three envelopes and opens #1. It reads: "Blame your predecessor." So he does and it works like a charm.

Another three months passes and things are growing difficult again so the manger figures to try #2. It reads, "reorganize." Again, his predecessor's advice works like magic.

Finally, about nine months into the new job, things are getting really sticky. The manager figures it worked before, why not try again. So he opens the envelope drawer one last time and opens #3. It reads..."prepare three envelopes."

source: http://wikibon.org/wiki/v/Prepare_three_envelopes


"Because it wasn’t a hack, it seems that the comment-filing system, though recently revamped, needs yet another fresh coat of paint to handle the kind of volume it saw during the net neutrality repeal."

Or as an alternative, maybe don't shove through legislation that's so wildly unpopular with the american citizens that the entire internet comes crashing down on you in protest. Just a thought.


Nit: it's not legislation, it's regulation in the FCCs purview. The reason this matters is because it is likely going to take Congressional legislation to get net neutrality now, which means electing (mostly) Democrats.


If only it were as simple as voting for 1 of 2 parties.

https://www.opensecrets.org/industries/totals.php?cycle=2018...

Neither party appears to be turning down money from the opponents of net neutrality. It feels more like everybody takes the money and the rest is just politics and propaganda.


Okay, but under Democrats we had net neutrality and under Republicans it was removed, and those were respectively explicit goals for both parties. So it really is as simple as voting for 1 of 2 parties.


Yep, you have the corporatist Democrats and the corporatist Republicans, both of which are happy to collude if it makes the companies that own them happy. I wish we would just make our politicians wear their owner's logos.


Sounds like the outfits worn in Idiocracy.


2 points.

One, regardless of the money, Democrats clearly support net neutrality and Republicans clearly oppose net neutrality by wide margins. The votes are nowhere close to balanced.

Two, be careful with looking at the totals on OpenSecrets. Look at the PAC money specifically. OpenSecrets tallies up every donation by employees working in an industry and calls it an industry donation. Which means that my $20 donation to a Democratic Rep is considered the same as Comcast literally giving $20 to a PAC which then donates to a Republican.


This is a pretty weird statement, as one party has fought tirelessly for NN including legislation and regulation, while one party has fought against legislation and regulation.

But you create a false equivalence based on media corp donations, instead of examining the actual behavior and recent history of the parties.

To Godwin this: "Well, the fascists and racists are supporting both Hitler's party and his competition, so, really they're all the same!"

You might want to sophisticate your political examination process.


I'm on the same side and pretty much agree with all of your points, but that really came out as condescending. I'm a huge fan of the new wave of Dems coming through (mainly the Democratic Socialist part) but we can't act like the main Democratic Party hasn't been fucking up for a WHILE. They're still trying to fight the DemSoc movement even though it's getting huge grassroot support. I don't trust the main party, but I believe in some select parts of the machine and don't think it's unreasonable for people to call out the Dems on their shit.


Your reply is kind of ridiculous. "The main party"? Dem socs are anti-intellectual idealists and while I appreciate their energy it's like putting a designer in charge of programming. "Free college and healthcare and everything for everyone" "How do we implement that?" "IDK it'll all wash out in the end"

I fall along the neoliberal lines, more of the liberal engineers as opposed to the liberal dreamers. Dem socs, again, love the enthusiasm, but there's little more to it than that.

The "main party" is the one who has tirelessly fought for and achieved Net Neutrality. Hate us boring "main party" types all you want, but don't disparage our recent history: We main party Democrats are the only force in America who fought for and achieved Net Neutrality. We did that. GOP destroyed it, sure, but it was us main party dems which made it a party plank, which pushed it to Obama and his FCC, and made it reality. And it'll be us who do it again, too.


Isn’t removing neutrality a de-regulation? To enforce neutrality would be a regulation.


No, because the FCC is preventing state and local governments from introducing their own net neutrality regulations. It is a regulation to prevent net neutrality in totality.


This really isn't as simple as, "The hypocrites! They claim to be eliminating regulation but really introduced them." Someone who is in favor of small government typically doesn't have much problem regulation the government itself especially when it's to preempt the creation of regulation. And if you actually want to have !NN and have a consistent set of rules for ISPs nationally then you have to "occupy the field" to prevent state/local governments from enacting 50 separate different not-quite-NN rules which will: not actually allow your deregulation to take effect, create even more complicated regulations, and then open yourself up to blame for all the problems the state regulations cause.

I would expect HN overall to agree with the FCC that the rules that govern the internet need to be as flat and global as possible.


Imagine the government collecting everyone's taxes to put in electricity based on common will, and then once it is hooked up it corrupt politicians say a new unaccountable king gets to decide who gets to plug in. The king has a profit motive, so for the most part you can pay him extra, in addition to the taxes you already paid, to let you plug in. Was inserting that king really a deregulatory step?

Maybe putting some restrictions on the king is just rolling back the implicit restrictions and regulations he exercises over the public inherent in his position that he gained through graft.

(king/comcast/att/etc.)


Eh, except the "king" in this case is actually the one who paid to put in electricity. So it's not really "graft", but being allowed to build infrastructure.

Yes, obviously, there should be regulations on infrastructure. But you're making it sound way simpler than it really is.


Didn't the King get a bunch of federal subsidies to build out his infrastructure or something like that? Does that ring a bell?


Aside from some stimulus money recently, no. Instead, they were subject to special extra taxes, like cigarettes: https://economics.mit.edu/files/1026. Telecom is unusual in that welfare is funded by taxing companies that provide the service rather than using general tax dollars: https://www.factcheck.org/2009/10/the-obama-phone. If would be like charging Panera a tax on bread and then using it to buy food for homeless shelters.


Which would be reasonable if Panera bread had a protected Monopoly on bread selling, and great profit margins. The analogy breaks down but isps also way under invest in service and maintenance relative to demand. Because they can.


In most cases the king didn't fund his own infrastructure, he convinced the people to pay for it.


Maybe I'm stating the obvious here, but "inserting a king" is absolutely an act of deregulation in this context. Because earlier there would be only one supplier of electricity (the government) but now anyone would be able to sell electricity for a price that they see fit.

Now, socialists claim that since the government is not profit driven, it would keep the prices low. On the other hand, capitalists say that even if the supplier seeks profit, there would be competition which would lead to innovation, better service, and lower prices. Of course, pretty much none of our systems are fully on one side or the other which complicates things. For example, telcos did not build the entire internet infrastructure out of their pocket, they received significant amount of government funding.


> For example, telcos did not build the entire internet infrastructure out of their pocket, they received significant amount of government funding.

I keep hearing this constantly. They received significant amount of government funding, yes, but how much of their (current) success and assets due to government funding? How much of it is really due to the continued regulation of radio waves and the land where cables are dug?


Their success is due to corruption and the lack of competition they are afforded. They barely do enough aside from collect money to avoid being displaced, despite how protected they are. Our ISPs suck terribly.


Attempting to enforce deregulation is regulation.


Playing devil's advocate: Was there something that ensured only American citizens (or residents or some relevant filter) could submit comments? I suspect there was a fair bit of trolling as well (not excusing the lie that they were hacked though).


No. And the FCC could have said that. They also could have just simply said "Well, this is just an issue that certain subsets of internet denizens have strong feelings about, but the average citizen doesn't," just like the Obama admin said in regards to the legalize-marijuana petition. There were lots of different ways to respond that would have come off as far more legitimate, and led to the same outcome.

Instead, they concocted an obviously false and politically motivated story about being "hacked".


Not particularly. All you had to do was give a US located address. I'm also assuming (hoping?) the IP was recorded, although using VPNs isn't hard.

Ironically, the democrats (or at least the current people in power and the media) tend to be against any requirement of strong ID when it comes to interacting with the government...


The US doesn't really have a form of strong ID, especially not a universal one that is easily applied.


The comments weren't votes. Beyond the general idea that lying is wrong and the FCC shouldn't have lied, which is a big deal, the entire "a majority of real comments were in support of NN" is entirely irrelevant to the decision. Popularity doesn't make something correct or true.


except it is very much relevant. their called "public comment periods" for a reason; they're a way for the public to give meaningful feedback on issues and policy that affect their lives. So, the content of those comments is exactly the point.


They're meant for the public to provide new, unique perspectives. Quantities aren't relevant, especially when most NN supporters used forms which automatically said the exact same thing and other entities spammed the comment period with marginally different generated texts saying the same thing.


IMHO it's not really (or at least, not only) to provide new, unique perspectives but rather to gather public opinion whether the pros outweigh the cons to the public.

In a democratic system, the public saying "we don't want it" is a valid reason for the gov't institutions to stop a project, no matter if they didn't get a new perspective and still think that the reasons are good.


> They're meant for the public to provide new, unique perspectives

Citation?


This is so basic to the regulatory public comment process that it's hard to find a simple, clear citation, but this one might help:

https://www.regulations.gov/docs/Tips_For_Submitting_Effecti...

Key quotes:

> The comment process is not a vote – one well supported comment is often more influential than a thousand form letters

> The comment process is not a vote. The government is attempting to formulate the best policy, so when crafting a comment it is important that you adequately explain the reasoning behind your position.

> Form Letters: Organizations often encourage their members to submit form letters designed to address issues common to their membership. Organizations including industry associations, labor unions, and conservation groups sometimes use form letters to voice their opposition or support of a proposed rulemaking. Many in the public mistakenly believe that their submitted form letter constitutes a “vote” regarding the issues concerning them. Although public support or opposition may help guide important public policies, agencies make determinations for a proposed action based on sound reasoning and scientific evidence rather than a majority of votes. A single, well-supported comment may carry more weight than a thousand form letters.


Ironically, the executive regulatory bodies also have mandates that aren't followed (across their existence), so I'm not sure that's a compelling reasoning.


I'm confused, where did they say they were "hacked"? When I follow the links I get here [1] where they said they were DDoS'd, not hacked. Even TechCrunch's old article [2] doesn't say the FCC was hacked.

[1] https://www.fcc.gov/document/statement-fcc-cio-denial-servic...

[2] https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/08/the-fccs-comment-system-ta...


Here you go: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-344764A1.p...

It's linked from that page you posted.

I guess you can be pedantic about the term "hacked," but they claimed their site was deliberately rendered unavailable to commenters by multiple attackers. In the common parlance, deliberately breaking computer shit is called hacking.

It may save unneeded stress to make peace with the fact that words can mean one thing to a specialist and something else to all the other native speakers of the language.


> Here you go. It's linked from that page you posted.

Uhm, yes, I have eyes, thank you. I think you can assume HNers are generally not obtuse enough to link to a nearly-blank page saying "Statement by FCC" and miss 3 glaringly obvious links referring to the actual statement. I was, indeed, referring to that statement. The very fact that their news release seemed to be missing "hack" or anything equivalent to it is exactly what I was referring to.

The difference between "attacked" vs. "hacked" isn't "pedantry" any more than the difference between "arrested" and "convicted" is pedantry. Being "hacked" means your system's security was breached, not that you were merely "attacked". Most of the press cares about being responsible with their choice of words, and you really should too. Nobody would say Google or HN or any other site was "hacked" the moment it was DDoS'd. Being hacked requires a security breach, and nowhere that I can see did the FCC claim there was such a thing. So unless they said this elsewhere, this is a recklessly irresponsible choice of words.

stonogo 6 months ago [flagged]

> Being "hacked" means your system's security was breached,

Nah. They claimed the site was rendered unfit for purpose by malicious attackers. If you don't think denial of service is a security event, you'd better start writing lots of angry letters to MITRE, because we need to revoke about 90% of the CVEs that have been issued over the years.

I'm not sure how to phrase this politely, but you are not the arbiter of language, TechCrunch is not beholden to any higher a linguistic standard than anyone else, and the word hack has been associated with DDoS attacks for years and years (a small sampling of references follow).

I don't particularly care about the FCC or this event, but this seems like a really strange hill to die on. Please note that I am not suggesting that you actually intend to expire on a topological elevation gradient; this is merely a figure of speech that means something else to some people (cf https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/hill_to_die_on).

"This class of hack, known as a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, has been around for a while.": http://fortune.com/2016/10/22/ddos-attack-hacker-profit/

"What is a DDoS Hack and How Do You Avoid Them?" (video): https://www.wired.com/2016/01/hacker-lexicon-what-are-dos-an...

"DDoS hack attack targets Church of Scientology": https://www.scmagazine.com/ddos-hack-attack-targets-church-o...

"Hack Attack Gums Up Authorize.Net": https://www.wired.com/2004/09/hack-attack-gums-up-authorize-...


You highlighted an issue in all of mainstream media's use of the term "hacking". They are extremely liberal with their use.

It's very tongue-in-cheek to claim an organization has been hacked because someone(s) launched a DDoS.

It's like someone claiming they perform their own auto repairs, but in actuality all they do is fill the windshield fluid and replace their air filter.


> this seems like a really strange hill to die on. Please note that I am not suggesting that you actually intend to expire on a topological elevation gradient

> I'm not sure how to phrase this politely

Yes, I (again) noticed. First in your initial comment, and now again in your second comment. You really haven't even been trying. I'm not sure what kind of a reply you expect when you treat people like they're stupid, but if it's anything positive, you won't get it.


The parent comment noted that words can mean entirely different things, or not, between groups.

My 14 year old niece says her Facebook was "hacked" by her friend. She had given her password to her to log in. Words have different meanings between groups, and "hack" seems very loose in use all around.

> difference between "arrested" and "convicted"

Both of those words have separate definitions in a formal setting (e.g. U.S. Courts). Is there a governing body that everyone regular subscribes to that delineates the difference between "attacked" and "hacked"? It really does not seem a reckless choice of words considering the audience the article is writing for.


Dude... this is TechCrunch, not USA Today. Their target audience is not the average grandma. Literally the title of their own article from May 2017 that they linked back to in this same article said "the FCC's comment system was targeted by DDoS attacks". The word "hack" didn't even appear in the article, just apparently in the tag for some clearly unwarranted reason. Now that they have hot news, they're deciding it grabs more eyeballs to call it a "hack" rather than a DDoS attack. If this kind of slander (yes, this would be slander if you could slander a government agency... they are accusing the FCC of a lie it apparently never uttered) had been about almost any other topic, the HN crowd would've grabbed their pitchforks already, bashing the reporters for being so tech-illiterate that they can't tell the difference between a successful defense and a failed defense. But we all hate the FCC now, so we're chill with whatever reckless fact-changing and slander that we can make stick on them. And apparently we defend each other in doing so.


Are there going to be any consequences for this? If no, then it is such a betrayal of trust.


If you read about Steve Bannon, his plan for years is really to have people lose faith in government agencies and have them thought of as garbage, and then ultimately shut down. I'm not sure this is some great conspiracy or just a bunch of scumbags at work here, but like I say there are major well financed efforts to actually make the FCC, EPA, etc look stupid, and appear to be run by idiots. Appointing incompetent people to them, is the plan by some of these folks like Bannon.


Invoking Steve Bannon is unnecessary: "losing faith in government" has been the Republican Party goal since Nixon.


I'd argue that Nixon wasn't in that boat, he actually supported formation of the EPA and such. Nixon's big contribution to the Republicans was his southern strategy (use of racism to win a previously Democrat south) and mis-application of domestic espionage.


"Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."

President Ronald Reagan, in his first inaugural address.


Arguably a misquotation, probably misleading absent the context, and definitely an incomplete quotation.

Speaking narrowly and specifically about the economic crisis and stagflation of the late 70s:

In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we've been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people.


The surrounding context doesn't really change/clarify that core message very much.


It does, it is saying the government had been the cause of the economic crisis of the time, not that it was generally the problem of all things.


the context makes it ironic even, considering they benefit from that exact sentiment to be elected.


Americans have already lost faith in government. There is a belief Bezos will save healthcare now. It seems Capitol Hill's main occupation is sabotaging and crippling the nation.


Notably, in the countries that the US administration seems to suddenly love now, such as Russia, government agencies are indeed regarded as garbage, but that only leads to more and more centralization of power. Because, you know, the tsar must step in and bring his underlings to order.


Some of us believe federal regulatory agencies are unconstitutional due to their ability to interpret laws (isn't that the Legislative branch's job?).

EPA, FCC, and their ilk have no obligation to represent the opinion of the people.

Federal agencies are given a blank check to interpret (write) laws without any real checks and balances.


> Some of us believe federal regulatory agencies are unconstitutional due to their ability to interpret laws (isn't that the Legislative branch's job?).

No, interpreting laws is the judicial branches role (as the ultimate decision point), but it's also essential to executive functioning (as you get apply or execute a law without first interpreting it.)

> EPA, FCC, and their ilk have no obligation to represent the opinion of the people.

Neither does Congress or the President.

> Federal agencies are given a blank check to interpret (write) laws without any real checks and balances.

“Interpret” does not mean “write”, and both the adjudicative/interpretive and regulation-writing functions of agencies are constrained by judicial review (of both) and both advance and responsive (Congressional Review Act) constraint by Congress (for the regulatory function.)


HUD, DoE (both of them), etc... ;-(


Betrayal of trust can be all part of the plan when your platform goes hand-in-hand with the idea that government is the problem rather than a solution (and you can make the best effort to prove it when you get elected).


That's pretty much Putin's textbook. Spread so much misinformation that people stop believing anything. That creates the climate for the strongman to come and drain the swamp.


Oh. Come on now. The system is designed for misinformation and manipulation. The difference this time was who - alledged - pulled the strings.

The USA's IC has a long and not so pretty history of misinformation. The fact that you're so quick to point at Putin only proves the USA IC is as slick and effective as ever.


I believe the Putin reference isn't about the recent paranoia about Russian interference, but about a how this specific tactic was pioneered by an advisor to Putin: Vladislav Surkov

A nice summary is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Od4MWs7qTr8


Correct. This strategy has been used before but I mentioned Putin because he has perfected it. I see the same tendency in Trump with his "fake news".


Yep - the effect is ultimately the same, however I'm not convinced that in Trump's case it is deliberate. There's a lot of talk from right that he's some visionary playing "fourth dimensional chess" but I think he's just an impulsive person who just doesn't put a great deal of thought into what he says other than the simple phrases he knows will land with his target audience ("lyin' ted", "crooked hillary", "fake news", "make america great again" etc)


Crooked Hillary was a term that he was advised to use by someone at Cambridge Analytica, or they claimed to have given it to him anyway.


"who just doesn't put a great deal of thought into what he says"

Don't underestimate Trump. He is a brilliant propagandist. He knows exactly what he is doing when it comes to his public perception. His while career has been about selling his image.


Maybe earlier in life, there's nothing brilliant coming from him now. He is old and confused and important functions are delegated. He's a symbol.


He certainly won the presidential election against all odds. I think that's pretty impressive. Being a good self promoter doesn't mean that you are a good president though.


And I believe, with plenty of historical evidence to support it, that the USA's IC propaganda machine predates Putin's.

The fact is, for example, we recently flew right past the anniversary of the Pentagon Papers and for some reason the USA MSM was more concerned with Stormy Daniels or some other pointless minutia. This is no accident.

Again. Just one example. Anyone who can connect two dots can find plenty more.


So does this have anything to do with the fake comments (left in my name): http://fortune.com/2017/11/29/fcc-and-net-neutrality-check-t...


Yes, this is a whitewashing of that exactly. My father and 3-year old nephew also left this comment! I had no idea he was so advanced for his age.


Yeah, I always assumed they were unintentionally DDoS'd by the bots spamming fake comments. Which anyone non-technical could honestly but inaccurately describe as "being hacked".


Anyone non-technical who was not directly involved with the deed, perhaps. It is not at all honest to say "we were hacked" if the truth is actually "we hacked ourselves."

Honestly (and of course, I don't have anything concrete to back this up with) I'm quite sure the truth is "we hacked ourselves, maintaining just enough degrees of separation so as to preserve plausible deniability..."


Huh? There were plenty of interests who would have been willing to pay someone to generate a lot of fake anti-net-neutrality "opinions".

Why assume that the FCC stuffed their own mailbox?


Why else would they have made up this ridiculous story about being hacked? You're much too charitable.


They only claimed they were DDoS'd, it's the media that used the word "hacked". Maybe we can agree that they might not have been able to tell the difference between bot comments and DDoS, or did not want to acknowledge that difference.


Sure. Somebody made up their mind what they wanted to do, they were required by law to seek public comments.

That 98% of unique comments and an overwhelming majority of public discussion were on one side of the issue, and they were then overwhelmed by obviously fake comments on the other side of the issue very conveniently allowed Pai to say "the results of the comment period are invalid, so we're going to disregard the comments and do what we had already planned to do anyway"

Given the track record of this administration so far, I feel pretty comfortable extrapolating from limited data and drawing conclusions that would not hold up in a court of law. Unless these folks are suddenly becoming much smarter than they look, chances are this will either be proven soon, or more likely swept under the next larger scandal.

Hopefully we can also agree that they were not going to listen to the public and knew before the comment period had even opened what they would do, and wouldn't be stopped. But in the realm of things we can prove, they definitely did not want to acknowledge the difference between what happened and "what happened." It played strongly to their advantage and successfully muddied the waters in furtherance of their stated goals.


Was there ever any doubt? What a joke ( and waste of time and resources ). At this point I'm surprised Pai bothered to release a statement.


Just face-saving. Trying to get out in front of the report and frame the issue rather than let others frame it.


I have been around a long time, and have observed many different presidential administrations. Some I liked and some I disliked. But I have never seen one that lied one tenth as often as the present one.


Of course it wasn't but the damage has been done.


Why don’t people trust institutions anymore?


Because the institutions were corrupted by people who don't want instutions telling them not to be corrupt.


The FCC should be disbanded and replaced with a new regulatory body that is elected by the people (either directly or by elected representation).

Even though they could do good, and may have in the past, the lack of actual accountability for their actions means that it's too easy to do bad. They're not directly elected, so even the tiny shred of accountability that elected officials generally have is not there. If they can flat out lie to the public and get away with it, why do they exist and why should they continue to exist?

The justification for the existence of a government organization should not be based on the possibilities of good they might do, but it should be based on the unchecked bad they could (and will eventually) do.


Don't fall into their trap of "look how terrible government is (when officials are actively trying to run it into the ground)".

Fix the issues with officials lying, rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater.


FCC does nothing that citizens need or want done. For it to be shuttered would harm only those who have invested billions in the fake "assets" that FCC invented and must constantly police.

It isn't the 1930s anymore. Modern radio technology could enable a much more complete utilization of spectrum. FCC's primary mission at this time is to delay that happy day as long as possible. "Happy" because with true competition, the consumer would forget that net neutrality was ever anything a government agency needed to enforce. Don't like how your WISP is handling your traffic? Just switch to one of the other 25 WISPs in your area.

It's true that if FCC were eliminated to the general benefit of the nation, curious citizens would wonder what else could be eliminated. Should we feel sorry for any organization unable to justify its own purpose and actions?


I strongly disagree with the idea that specrim doesn't need assigned.

There are fudemental mathematical limits to how much data can be sent over a range of frequency. We aren't all that far from it. Even without that, what are you picturing everything coming with enough smarts and flexibility to decide what frequency to use and then use it.

What about people acting in bad faith, cell phone jamming ect.


> FCC does nothing that citizens need or want done.

I wanted net neutrality the first time it was implemented. I remember being excited about a few other regulations that the Wheeler FCC implemented.


> FCC does nothing that citizens need or want done.

Keeping emergency bands clear is something the general populace wants done and frankly, needs done.


They "implemented" it a year before that president left office, knowing the next administration would roll it back. It didn't even actually get out of the courts, so the implementation never affected anything. A fairly cheap signal of virtue...


That's a mischaracterization of what happened.

Traditional telephone telecoms were always common carriers under Title II, and that applied to internet over dialup during the 90s. When broadband meant that internet connectivity was now being delivered via other medium, the FCC enforced what we now call net neutrality via a lighter regulatory scheme. Verizon ironically sued to get the courts to say that the FCC couldn't enforce the rules in a lighter scheme and therefore had to declare the new internet connectivity infrastructure to be full Title II common carriers to apply any of those rules to them. That court case ended in 2014, and so the FCC followed the court recommendation to apply the rules the were already enforcing.

Long story short: there was never really a time with both consumer internet connectivity and no net neutrality, despite the right wing talking points that this is some new thing.


Thread parent specifically credited Wheeler. I assumed that was for what Wheeler did in 2015? In my opinion (of course everyone is welcome to her own!) that action was calculated for reversal. In fact the whole "our backs are to the wall since VZN sued us" kabuki performance was planned years in advance. Big telcos are plugged into the parts of USA government that don't face reelection. They can bring extraordinary pressure to bear on judges and bureaucrats. Nobody in that system wants thousands of wildcat WISPs dotting the countryside.

I agree that the AM talk goofballs are full of shit on most things they say about the internet.


Net neutrality is the origin and the genesis of the Internet.

It's baked into TCP/IP with packet agnosticism the central and guiding principle.

You've given into partisan ignorance and I can't fault you: it's typical of people all around the world to wrap themselves in comforting ignorance lest they be forced to exercise even a small portion of their brains.

*And thanks for finally coming clean in your own regard. I realized who I replied to after I posted my own reply to your 'content.'


Yes I'm partisan in that I'd like for us to be rid of both wings of the mainstream party. In the context of this thread "net neutrality" has been a regulation. Of course as a design consideration it is fundamental to how the internet is built, and of course it's an abomination that none of the ISPs available to me feel that way. I don't judge things by the marketing, FCC included. If FCC fixed any number of the many things they do wrong, I'd have to change my tune. I don't expect to have to do that...

I'm not sure what other reply you're referencing.


I think you're underestimating how constrained the radio spectrum actually is. There's not enough room for 25 WISPs.


I can see (and, with the right tools, connect to) more than 25 WiFi APs from my office. The reason "there isn't enough room" in other bands is because we haven't really tried. Developing the tech is expensive, so investors will be sure there is an application before investing. In Wifi, a tiny sliver of "whoops why the hell did we leave that open oh yeah microwave ovens damn that's inconvenient" spectrum that no one who could get a meeting with FCC wanted, lots of wonderful and unpredicted things have happened. It seems we get another 802.11 letter every couple of years now. Those engineers don't need supervision from the feds. They wouldn't need supervision on a larger chunk of spectrum either.


You actually do get very significant contention between 25 WiFi APs, or even 12. 2.4 GHz only supports 11 channels; any more simultaneous users than that and you get collisions, which requires packet retransmission and can severely increase latency. That's a large part of the reason why everyone has dual-band APs now - 2.4GHz got so congested that people needed more spectrum, so they got 5GHz routers to avoid the congestion (and then all their neighbors got 5GHz as well, nullifying some of the effect). If you have a dual-band router in an urban area and sometimes find that your YouTube videos keep buffering, try switching bands; oftentimes when 2.4GHz is unusable, 5GHz will be clear, and vice versa.


And those 11 channels overlap and aren't real full channels. You essentially only get 3 real channels.


> Those engineers don't need supervision from the feds

The FCC limits broadcast strength on the unlicensed 2.4 GHz band as well. Remove that limit and 2.4 GHz wifi will finally become pure noise as everyone tries to down each other out (it's already pretty much useless in a dense apartment building)


Intentional transmitters are very heavily regulated, even in the 2.4GHz band.


With 25 visible APs, chances are your wireless performance is shit, whatever you say about it subjectively.


How do you propose we fix the government when the government is trying to run the government into the ground and the only way to fix it is through the government?

> Fix the issues with officials lying

The only way to do that is by either 1: prosecuting them or 2: disbanding the FCC and forming a new regulatory body that is elected by the people (either directly or by elected representation). I was advocating for #2. #1 is largely a joke when targeting high ranking officials.


What's wrong with prosecuting public officials who lie to the public? Make all official statements de facto under oath.


The futility of trying to equivocate truth was illustrated by the Clinton trial, or taking any community college philosophy class.


And yet, trials exist.


With predictable outcomes. Liars avoid prosecution and weasel out of consequence, even with dedicated decisioning.


Electing the FCC makes no sense. The rules are set by Congress, who we do elect. The FCC interprets and enforces those rules, but if they make poor decisions, Congress can change the rules.


To pile onto this comment, the Republicans in Congress can join the Democrats any time they want to and ensgrine net neutrality as the law of the land.


This is why I prefer direct democracy and polling about policies to voting for representatives.

Actual statistical sampling can be applied instead of a bunch of crap, gerrymandering and lobbying.


We first need to get people to care and be involved. Apparently, under a third of the colonists actually supported independence from England. If I mention repealing CFAA, I can't find anyone to support the idea. I think the topic would never pass any committee much less on the floor.


How is no FCC better than the current FCC? How would you propose we regulate the use of radio bandwidth? Cell phones, wifi, bluetooth, all would be impossible without the FCC. Net neutrality can never be enforced by a non-existing entity. Congress ultimately has the final say over what the FCC may or may not decide. The accountability is there. If the current rules are broken, that's a problem to fix, not to give up on.


With no FCC to hold back use of modern radio technology, we could all choose from among dozens of WISPs. Net neutrality would be table stakes from most of those, because actual competition. The FCC does nothing in the WiFi space, and that space is flourishing. If they did nothing over the entire spectrum, the entire spectrum would flourish (eventually).


> The FCC does nothing in the WiFi space

Who regulates the power limits on consumer WiFi devices? You think it’s the goodness of device makers’ hearts that keeps them from screaming across county lines?


Better radio tech can deal with higher noise floors. It's not as if the military has to ground their planes whenever the bad foreign leader du jour cranks up his WiFi...

I know there would be a transition period during which people would be pissed off that FM had gone away. After we got through that transition, we would enjoy many benefits.


> It's not as if the military has to ground their planes whenever the bad foreign leader du jour cranks up his WiFi...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93U.S._RQ-170_incid...


That link seems to describe a hack of a vulnerable C&C protocol rather than basic radio interference?


They jammed the the C&C and encrypted military GPS and spoofed the civilian fallback GPS to run it into the ground.


> Cell phones, wifi, bluetooth, all would be impossible without the FCC

It sounds like you need to read up on the vast regulatory difference between cell bands and wifi.

edit: I can't fathom why I'm being downvoted. Without the FCC we would have much faster wifi, not being confined to a few tiny slices of spectrum. But cell service is debatable. And radio astronomy would be fucked.


The ISM bands are a shitshow. Some people legitimately need licensed spectrum.


I didn't say anything to the contrary.

I'd personally like to see a lot more public spectrum (say half of what was reclaimed from that DTV switchover [0]). But I respect there are many applications that do need dedicated spectrum, hence my reference to radio astronomy. Basic emergency comms that want the least possible protocol complexity is another.

It's just not a very informed opinion to think the FCC effected wifi/bluetooth, rather than having merely gotten out of the way.

[0] Or, if concerned it would merely end up a permanently unusable swamp due to the propagation, at least run an initial experiment with a tiny slice.


Yes, by all means take small steps. Those would still be progress! We might learn something about the right and wrong ways to deregulate spectrum. Up until now we've just been assuming that it can't be done, despite the WiFi's clear example of it being done well.


It is sort of hilarious that WiFi would be presented as an argument for FCC...

Eventually radio astronomy will take place in space, right? Besides, only really old-fashioned stuff like AM/FM can really interfere with astronomy more than a tiny increase in the overall noise level.


This is unfortunately not true for radio astronomy, the receivers are very sensitive, and will show interference from even a simple LCD screen within a mile. At frequencies below 1 GHz, the VLA often has to throw away more than half of the data due to interference.

Most observations happen outside of the protected bands, nature uses the whole spectrum, although the absolute most important bands are protected, like the 1420 MHz hydrogen line. For comparison, if you put a cell phone on the surface of the moon, it would be the brighter than the brightest natural source at 2 GHz. FM bands are wiped out, but some experiments where it is really important (the epoch of reionization) are put specifically in Western Australia or South Africa where it's wasteland and they protect the sites from interference.


Well, regulatory capture is the problem here [1]. The FCC crooks were appointed by elected crooks. If the US didn't elect crooks, we wouldn't have this FCC.

Electing crooks, of course, is a very old tradition. When it's blunt, it looks like the Credit Mobilier scandal in 1867 [2]. When it's a little more subtle, it might look like LBJ destroying Leland Olds' reputation to keep him off the Federal Power Commission [3].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capture

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cr%C3%A9dit_Mobilier_of_Americ...

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leland_Olds#Unsuccessful_re-no...


Everything that you say here about the FCC could also be applied to other agencies. I think what was going on at the EPA was even worse for the simple fact that their regulations can actually have a positive or negative effect on the lives of the citizens it is responsible. While we as internet addicted citizens feel that the network is important, I think it is lower on the list. Not at all trying to diminish the fight against the FCC. I just think the EPA is even more important.


Well, Pai was appointed by Trump so in a sense he was chosen by voters, albeit indirectly. If we vote a different president into office then Pai will be replaced. A vote for one party in a race to control the Presidency really is a vote for control of that entire branch, including the officials it appoints. But it's a shame most Americans don't think about politics this way. Ultimately we get the government we deserve.




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