The voting was controlled by 5 people and split on party lines 3-2 . NN was never actually up for debate.
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality_in_the_United_S... - last paragraph
I’m sure you didn’t mean it as such but that sounds like the kind of argument often used to shutdown discussion of egregious behaviour.
Granted, "small media firms deniably hired by an industry lobby group" is basically what everyone expected, but it's still interesting to see how it panned out.
I feel like whenever an external agent such as Russia opens up the troll farms, the US gets all up in arms about the threat to democracy and how its poor country is under assault by the big bad meanies sending their virtual gargoyles to pray on its innocent citizens and influence their voting habits and put whoever they want in charge of the country and oh woe me, while they are doing it to their own citizens!
I don't hear Russia on the world stage as vocal about it as the US, if anything I'm hearing a lot more pragmatic (not something everyone agrees with) geopolitical discussion coming from that side, and I don't hear about them actively targeting their own citizens in "psyops" with the same fervor as the US.
Of course, this could mean that the press is free in the US and totally controlled in Russia so of course we hear only one side of the story, but I have this nagging feeling that whereas Russian government is actively and directly sabotaging its citizens, the US is engaged in far more psychologically dangerous activities targeting its state of being, and that the most damage is done by internal forces, not by external baddies.
I dunno, might be totally off, who knows...
Both countries are well versed in the topic but of course your media diet might affect how much you see on it.
Historically more than half the budget and employees of the IRA is dedicated to Russian speaking internet users and have been involved in way more elaborate schemes directed at Russian electors. They've physically impersonated journalists and gone to the door of anti-government activists for example.
The Russian government also has a tighter media machine to encircle their propaganda targets by coordinating their attacks using TV, press and internet assets directly aligned with the state.
In the USA sockpuppetting and astroturfing by political entities is usually discovered due to healthy democratic tensions where both camps get to freely express themselves when they discover them.
The "alt-right" has been building a network of media organizations but have a harder time getting their propaganda laundered by the traditional media who tend to vet what they air/publish. The political fracture of the USA makes it harder to convince the entire country on 1 topic.
The recent failed attempts by Jacob Wohl to create "offline" pressure on Robert Mueller or Elizabeth Warren and have them laundered in traditional media is a sign they're trying but not connecting yet.
Finally the example here is less about a political operative trying to trick the American constituents than giving the FCC a pretext (or biased analysis) to say their policy was popular.
> Historically more than half the budget and employees of the IRA is dedicated to Russian speaking internet users and have been involved in way more elaborate schemes directed at Russian electors. They've physically impersonated journalists and gone to the door of anti-government activists for example. The Russian government also has a tighter media machine to encircle their propaganda targets by coordinating their attacks using TV, press and internet assets directly aligned with the state.
I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if this were true. Russia's government viewed from a distance does seem like the kind of entity engaged in this kind of 'persuasion' and operations, even through third party 'private' entities.
> In the USA sockpuppetting and astroturfing by political entities is usually discovered due to healthy democratic tensions where both camps get to freely express themselves when they discover them.
I think there's danger in this kind of statement. If one truly believes one's country to have a healthy way of resolving such operations because the balance of powers is so great, that person is prime for getting manipulated as they are letting their guard down.
> Finally the example here is less about a political operative trying to trick the American constituents than giving the FCC a pretext (or biased analysis) to say their policy was popular.
I agree, however if you ask me this gives an even smaller group of people control of the majority than if the target would be directly influencing the average American constituent. I'm not sure if I understood the idea clearly, but it seems a lot more dangerous for an entity to just be able to justify its own actions in order to influence laws in a nation, than to have to go through the hurdle of influencing the masses.
I agree, my intention isn't to encourage people in the US to let their guard down but rather give an explanation on how structural differences between Russia and the USA lead to different propaganda and manipulation dynamics.
Citizens in democracies can and are manipulated by many different actors, it's just that these actors are more likely to be adversarial at some point. Healthy media competition and freedoms are a good antidote but not the silver bullet.
I think we see more than ever that this isn't the case. The reality is that traditional media simply doesn't share alt-right views and doesn't want to give them a free platform.
That's not what the story is saying. The FCC didn't create any fake comments. From one we know so far, one "grassroots" marketing company has been identified as creating fake comments. Their client hasn't been identified, but likely is an ISP, or an ISP lobbying group. This is bad behavior, but far from the Government psyops on its own citizens.
edit: yes, multiple industry lobbying groups have been identified. The FCC wasn't behind this, this isn't an example of a government psyop against its own citizens.
According to their site, they represent "the hundreds of millions of Americans who are literally connected through broadband", which is a flat out lie. They're a lobbyist group that works for AT&T, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, and Cox, among others.
Now it's easy to say it's not such a big deal because it's private businesses and their right to "free speech", except for one enormous glaring issue that makes all that moot. The actual human beings are the same, the private businesses and the government are theoretically separate, but literally the same people.
This isn't even up for argument, it's the "elephant in the room". Ajit Pai, head of the FCC, used to be a lawyer for Verizon, a member of Broadband for America. The group paying to fraudulently manipulate the FCC and subvert the democratic process is directly connected to the head of the FCC. Verizon is fucking regulated by one of it's former lawyers!
Now that the lines have been blurred between government and private business, we're also crossing the lines between advertising and propaganda, which is psyops.
The FCC is complicit in the whole damned thing, so the result is the same and the industry got it's way. We can argue semantics though...
To me, you're acting like a jaw-dropping level of corruption is somehow excusable, perhaps because it's "normal"?
Yeah, because the FCC and "Broadband for America" are only separate in theory. When you have the industry controlling the FCC to this point, the only difference between psyops and marketing is who's footing the bill.
You're technically right base upon a very literal definition of psyops, but missing the whole point.
The devil is in the details here- consider the current state of regulatory capture of the FCC, where Ajit Pai is arguably representing the interests of his previous employer, Verizon. It's not a giant leap to argue that the placement of Pai and the comments on the net neutrality board were 1) orchestrated by Verizon and 2) strategically use the government as a proxy to hide the exercise of their will.
I wouldn't say this is a case of `the government is doing psyops`, but rather `some entity is using the government to gaslight the people`. I don't blame the structure for this problem, but the people who corrupted it.
In many ways the political body is just a reflection of the citizenry. The US is part of a global cultural shift, and that has consequences. It's not nearly as dangerous as, say, the Protestant Reformation, but there are some parallels. Belief and trust in the authority of the state is waning, new ideas about the ethics of treating each other are becoming more entrenched, and technology is furthering the spread of these ideas.
The US political machine is slowly eating itself, and a very bad economic downtown could threaten its foundations. If the US is going to be hurt, it'll probably be by within more than without. But you also can't talk about politics anymore without geopolitics. As the US changes internally, that makes it vulnerable externally. The current administration has been systematically giving up international influence in favor of nationalism, a trend other Western nations are also going with, which will result in an international shift of power. China may not be fermenting revolution here, but they're obviously bolstering their role on the world stage. They will be ready to pick up any money and power we leave on the table, which weakens the US and the west in general.
So sure, these kinds of "oh no our government is subverting itself" posts are problematic, but I don't think nearly as problematic as just how the minds of the citizens are changing, and how that is then affecting its stability.
Some US "friend"-states also have a huge influence in the online discussions, and in the media. They have their own military units and action groups.
And this is just the beginning of the manipulation that is going on online by actors.
The foreign influence is just minor and is exaggerated by the internal influencers as a distraction. That way the internal influencers can pretend that they are doing good work.
And this is just the beginning.
A good solution is to detect logical fallacies in the stories. How much are they used to push a certain idea? Is there actual evidence? And/or is there possible manipulation by an involved party.
Who was it that said, "Those who don't do politics will have politics done to them"
Outside of forums, I am involved in the low scale politics of where I live because, as that one person said, I like to at least have a say in the way I am governed.
Also, don't mix up the mafia that's in power there now with Russia itself. They don't represent the country and its people, they are usurpers.
Does that, matter?
Does your hearing one country talk about this topic, and you not hearing another country talk about it matter or mean something in some way?
For me it does as a major part of my opinion forming mechanism is actually listening to the official declaration of countries regarding matters of importance to me.
Is there a reason why you are asking me these questions? Should it not matter? Am I an idiot for listening to the official statements of countries regarding international matters?
I feel like you anthropomorphize this situation almost to irrelevance.
"This country complained, this one didn't." is such a simplification that I think you're missing the actual topic.
If two countries nuked each other and one complained more, would it matter?
> If two countries nuked each other and one complained more, would it matter?
For me, yes, the official statements on the nuking countries would matter.
Countries make statements for internal audiences, external, etc. They're hardly a good indicator of much of anything.
Let alone that you'd be basing your opinion about what they said, not what they did.
> than from some 3rd party conspiracy machination.
I've no idea what that means.
Maybe you're not part of the majority, and you disagree with the majority's views, but I think it's not at all pathetic to equate the country's politicians with what the people want. You are not the US government, the the US government represents the US people's interests; both domestic and externally.
Yes, sadly, you are. "We the people" is the foundation of the US government.
Our failure to prevent the government from pursuing these actions makes us tacitly responsible for them, even though there is virtually no path available to prevent them.
Unless you are talking about the quantity of 'psyops' on the media channels and that I couldn't quantify.
believe me, this doesn't make your opinions objective ;)
People ought to go to jail for this kind of crap.
Yes. The inability of ordinary citizens to ensure that this occurs, is what allows corruption to flourish.
Furthermore, I've met poor, conservative Americans who hate any form of government regulation. Even if it's patently obvious that they will personally benefit from some proposed regulation, they believe it will be bad for in the long run for their country. Their comments are not fake.
(Edited to give these examples)
But NN has absolutely nothing to do with that.
This meant they could access Wikipedia, Facebook and Bing  but couldn't access EdX or Khan Academy or Google.
Although perhaps well-meaning, the scheme was widely opposed by net neutrality advocates .
However, can we qualitatively define a line that demarcates "honest communication" from "malicious attempts to change public opinion"? You can't make it a crime to try convince people of things. The basic intent we would like to capture is it should be illegal to lie for political gain, including subtle lies of omission like anonymously pretending on the internet that you're a disinterested bystander. But lying is a very slippery concept to legally define (as is "political gain").
Obviously the stolen identities is something we can definitively point to that can fairly straightforwardly be made illegal, if it isn't already. But most astroturfing campaigns don't do that, and although it makes this a particularly compelling case it's not actually the meatiest part of what makes it bad. Millions of comments from invented accounts to provide background FUD would also be very evil. But what part of that can we actually make illegal, without also compromising the free speech of you and me? Hiring PR firms? Writing comments on the internet? Unfortunately, "I know sketchy shit when I see it" just isn't good enough.
I'm not sure what you think I'm arguing. I want there to be answer. I was hoping for suggestions.
Uh? I very much enjoy my zero-rated services.
Anyway, I'm pretty sure that customers like zero-rating services. Just think of it: for many people Facebook is the Internet. How is an exemption from the data cap for Facebook a bad thing for the end consumer? Yeah I know, maybe not a good idea in the long term regarding competition, but I don't think customers care too much about that.
The reality is no one is surprised, and the lack of surprise is exactly why the system is broken. Let’s hope the states advocate for Net Neutrality.
I would be much happier if at the time there was a counter force to spam submissions of the opposite opinion and at least make it abundantly clear that the whole thing was a farce. It’s wild that the FCC chair had the gaul to claim the public was against net neutrality from these submissions.
Except... the pro-NN spam mostly came in two batches, which could each have been done by a single person. One batch used FakeEmailGenerator, along with what seem to be identities made by pulling randomly from lists of first names, last names, and streets. The second batch exclusively used "@pornhub.com" as the email domain. Both were discounted from every serious attempt at counting responses on each side.
It's the worst of both worlds, really. There was enough pro-NN spam numerically to claim the anti-NN astroturfing wasn't any worse, but it represented a tiny number of bad actors. Meanwhile, the anti-NN spam was vastly more malicious in both the influence of the perpetrators and the extremity of the behavior used to hide it. Randomly generating a fake name isn't a misdeed on par with identity theft, but it was certainly treated that way.
This will affect all parties on all sides of all debates.
I have no idea what this means for society or what should be done about it.
Where this will end nobody knows, but that it will take us into some new 'dark ages' already seems pretty likely.
Losing quality newspapers as a source of information and replacing them with the current crop of online news sources, filter bubbles and the twitterverse does not feel at all like an improvement to me.
I would imagine it's slander, fraud, and a number of other crimes.
Perhaps that is the grounding that should be used to promote additional 3rd party DNS resolvers
I'd like to think in both cases that by walking back (sensible) regulation at the federal level was bad for business.
I wonder what that means for online privacy laws. Should the federal government not even touch this?