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  • Geebo 10:00 am on December 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FBI, , net neutrality   

    FBI investigating possible net neutrality fraud 

    FBI investigating possible net neutrality fraud

    The last we heard about the net neutrality debate, the FCC had admitted that half a million comments submitted to the FCC website were made by phony Russian accounts. In the run-up to net neutrality’s repeal by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, the public could submit either their support or opposition to net neutrality, the regulations that protected a free and open internet. Pai, a former Verizon attorney, repealed net neutrality claiming that it stifled innovation. During the past week, the FBI decided to get involved with the investigation into the fake accounts.

    The FBI has launched an investigation into whether or not “people’s identities were posted to the FCC’s website without their permission, falsely attributing to them opinions about net neutrality rules.” According to the New York Attorney General’s office, close to ten million comments submitted to the FCC’s website were submitted with stolen identities. The total amount of comments received numbered around 24 million. When factoring in what were believed to be legitimate comments close to 99% were in favor of keeping net neutrality protections in place.

    The FBI has subpoenaed several telecom lobbyists and trade groups. Previously the state of New York had requested information from the FCC regarding the status of these allegedly fake accounts but by most reports, the FCC refused to cooperate citing the state of New York had no authority to investigate these claims. Now, only time will tell if anything actually comes out of this new investigation by the FBI or will Ajit Pai’s higher-ups will try to hamper the investigation? After all, the administration has to do something to keep that telecom campaign money pouring in.

     
  • Geebo 10:12 am on December 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , net neutrality   

    FCC admits Russian interference in net neutrality debate 

    FCC admits Russian interference in net neutrality debate

    This week, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, released a memo where he admitted that at least half a million comments submitted to the FCC came from Russian email addresses. If you’ll recall, the FCC opened up their website to comments in order to discuss the then pending repeal of net neutrality legislation. The site was flooded with comments that the FCC first claimed was a denial of service or DDoS attack. Later on, the FCC backed down on that claim.

    The 500,000 comments made by Russian accounts were all said to be in favor of net neutrality and Pai has put this forward as evidence of foreign interference into our democratic process. The question that needs to be asked is, were these fake accounts in favor of net neutrality so the Trump Administration’s FCC could claim that the commenting period was invalid in their way to repealing the net neutrality protections put in place by the Obama Administration?

    When you have an administration with alleged questionable ties to Russia, why would Russia act as an opponent to the administration’s policies unless their only goal was to make net neutrality supporters look bad? With Ajit Pai constantly changing the narrative on net neutrality if he says the sky is blue you may want to look outside to make sure he’s right. It’s looking more and more like the FCC sold out consumer internet protections wholesale to the major telecoms with a little help from overseas friends.

     
  • Geebo 1:32 pm on November 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , net neutrality, Randall Stephenson   

    Does AT&T really want net neutrality restored? 

    Does AT&T really want net neutrality restored?

    After the state of California tried to institute its own net neutrality legislation they were sued not only by the federal government but by a group representing almost the entirety of broadband providers. If you’ll recall, when the FCC repealed net neutrality protections put in place by the Obama administration, the FCC ruled unilaterally that states were forbidden from enacting their own legislation. Of course, this did not sit well with many of the states as they fought to protect consumers. Now the fight for net neutrality has an unexpected and uneasy ally.

    AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has urged Congress to pass federal net neutrality regulations at a recent tech conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal. At the conference, Stephenson said, “What would be a total disaster for the technology and innovation you see happening in Silicon Valley and elsewhere is to pick our head up and have 50 different sets of rules for companies trying to operate in the United States.” So now he is pushing for the idea that no internet service provider should block or throttle content and that users should be able to access the internet without interference.

    What Mr. Stephenson did not clarify, according to Ars Technica, was whether or not he was opposed to paid prioritization which would favor certain internet traffic over others. For example, if your ISP had its own streaming service, it could prioritize that traffic over a competing service like Netflix. While minimal net neutrality is better than none Mr. Stephenson’s motives seem to come from a fear of having to deal with multiple state regulations rather than one unified federal law. However, at this point with how tone-deaf the Trump administration’s FCC has been, we should be thankful for small victories where we can get them.

     
  • Geebo 10:05 am on October 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Mozilla, net neutrality   

    California to hold back on net neutrality, for now 

    California to hold back on net neutrality, for now

    California Gov. Jerry Brown

    Always being the trendsetter, the state of California recently passed the most stringent net neutrality laws in the country, defying the edict handed down by the FCC stating that states could not enforce their own net neutrality laws. When the FCC repealed net neutrality protections for consumers they also issued an edict that the individual states could not make their own laws regarding net neutrality which many see as an abuse of power by the FCC. After California Governor Jerry Brown signed California’s net neutrality into law, not only was the Golden State sued by the Trump Administration and a consortium of broadband providers. But now, a third lawsuit has arisen which has caused California to take pause.

    California’s net neutrality was supposed to go into effect on January 1, 2019, however, this past Friday the state of California announced they would be holding off on enforcing net neutrality until a certain lawsuit is settled. Mozilla, the non-profit behind the Firefox browser, is suing the FCC stating that their repeal of net neutrality protections “violates both federal law as well as harms internet users and innovators.” To put it in simpler terms, Mozilla is claiming that it’s beyond the FCC’s scope of powers to interfere with a state’s rights to pass their own legislation on net neutrality.

    So, this isn’t a defeat for net neutrality in California. The state is merely awaiting the outcome of Mozilla’s lawsuit before determining how to move forward with net neutrality as the Mozilla lawsuit could have national ramifications on the states’ rights to enforce net neutrality. Once again, I find it ironic that an administration that supposedly champions states rights is so quick to try to quash those rights when it goes against financial backers who helped get them to the office, to begin with.

     
  • Geebo 9:21 am on October 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , net neutrality   

    Lawsuits over net neutrality fall along party lines 

    Lawsuits over net neutrality fall along party lines

    Ever since the FCC repealed the net neutrality regulations put in place by the Obama administration, a number of states have either enacted their own net neutrality legislation or have sued the FCC to restore the previous federal legislation. If you’ll recall, when the FCC, backed by Chairman Ajit Pai, repealed the protections the FCC claimed that the states could make no laws in regard to net neutrality which many see as the FCC overstepping their legal authority. With states enacting their own legislation in defiance of the FCC this has led to a coalition of internet providers to file their own lawsuits against some states such as California and more recently Vermont.

    22 State Attorneys General and the Attorney General of the District of Columbia have filed a lawsuit against the FCC arguing that the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality was arbitrary and capricious and that the FCC can not preempt state laws. Now, the Attorneys General of three other states, Texas, Arkansas, and Nebraska respectively, have filed a brief in support of the FCC’s decision claiming that the states “have an interest in protecting both consumers and purveyors of Internet services.” Somehow, I doubt the esteemed Attorneys General from these three states have the consumers best interest at heart.

    So what’s the difference between the 23 Attorneys General who are suing the FCC and the three that support them? Well, the 23 who are suing are all Democrats while the three in support of the repeal are Republican. While I would never tout one political party over the other if you care about a free an open internet I think it’s obvious where your votes should go next month if this is an issue that matters to you. Even if you’re a Republican party loyalist you have to take notice of the fact that only three red states have weighed in on this matter as the rest have decided to remain on the sidelines.

     
  • Geebo 9:15 am on October 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , net neutrality   

    Can the FCC really stop states from enacting Net Neutrality? 

    Can the FCC really stop states from enacting Net Neutrality?

    If you’ll recall, when the FCC under the Obama Administration enacted net neutrality legislation, the FCC ruled that internet providers were to be considered as Title II carriers. What that meant was that the internet was to be treated as a utility much like electricity or water. This also meant that internet service could not be throttled in any way. I mean, you don’t see the power companies giving fast service to your microwave while throttling service to your clothes dryer. That was until earlier this year when the Aji Pai led FCC overturned the Title II designation with the ironically named Restoring Internet Freedom Order.

    Since then, the state of California enacted their own net neutrality legislation in defiance of the FCC’s edict that no state could enact their own net neutrality laws. This resulted in lawsuits being filed against the state of California by both the DOJ and a consortium of groups representing the big internet providers like Comcast and Verizon. However, now it’s being argued whether or not the FCC has the authority to forbid states from enacting net neutrality regulations. According to WIRED, since the FCC has said that it doesn’t have the authority to regulate the internet, it may not have the authority to regulate it within the states either. Yet, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai continues to mislead the public about net neutrality.

    In the preceding video, Pai claims that there have been no violations of net neutrality and that when the Obama administration regulated it, that any regulation dealt only in hypotheticals. That flies in the face of reality where companies like Comcast and AT&T would treat internet traffic in such a way that they would favor services they provided. In one example AT&T made a move to block Skype and VOIP calls over their service in order to get more people to use their voice service.

    Now the FCC wants to have their cake and eat it too by not only abandoning net neutrality but trying to make the states not enforce it as well. With movies like this, it seems obvious that the FCC only really cares about big business and not the American public.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on October 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , net neutrality   

    Internet providers file their own suit against California Net Neutrality 

    Internet providers file their own suit against California Net Neutrality

    If you were looking for a sign that the state of California was trying to protect consumers with its new net neutrality legislation, look no further. Four broadband industry groups that represent companies like AT&T, Verizon, Charter, Comcast, and T-Mobile, have joined with the DOJ in suing California. Much like the DOJ, the internet providers are arguing that California is violating federal mandates by imposing their own regulations against providers that perform interstate services.

    Once again, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai tries to spin the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality as pro-consumer. Pai issued a statement that read in part

    “The Internet is inherently an interstate information service. As such, only the federal government can set policy in this area,” Pai said. “Not only is California’s Internet regulation law illegal, it also hurts consumers.”

    California Attorney General Xavier Becerra fired back by referring to the industry groups as ‘power brokers’ who have an ‘interest in maintaining their stronghold’. AG Becerra also released a statement of his own regarding the latest suit.

    “California, the country’s economic engine, has the right to exercise its sovereign powers under the Constitution,” he said in a statement, “and we will do everything we can to protect the right of our 40 million consumers to access information by defending a free and open Internet.”

    It has been shown in the past that the FCC has given little input to the American people who were opposed to the repeal of net neutrality protections ever since they announced their intention to do so, going as far as forbidding the states from make their own net neutrality legislation. This has not stopped the states from defying this edict with California being at the forefront of that movement. With the federal government siding with the major internet providers over the protection of consumers doesn’t it fall to the individual states to do what they can to protect their citizens? This is what ‘states’ rights’ is really about.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on October 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Jeff Sessions, , net neutrality   

    California sued by the Trump administration over new net neutrality laws 

    California sued over new net neutrality laws by the Trump administration

    California Gov. Jerry Brown

    This past Sunday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed what’s being called the strictest net neutrality laws in the country for his state. Not surprisingly, the Trump Administration has a problem with this because when the FCC repealed net neutrality regulations earlier this year, they unilaterally proclaimed that states could not enact their own net neutrality legislation. Almost immediately after Governor Brown signed the legislation into law, the DOJ filed a lawsuit against the state of California.

    FCC Chairman, and former Verizon employee, Ajit Pai told reporters that the repeal of net neutrality will lead to “better, faster, cheaper Internet access and more competition.” Right, because there was so much competition in the internet service market prior to net neutrality being enacted. How many internet service providers are available in any given market? While many larger cities may have a choice between the phone company or the cable company when it comes to getting their internet. Many smaller towns only have one provider and that’s it. That’s because many of the big ISPs have entered into agreements with municipalities making them a virtual regional monopoly. Rates haven’t gotten any cheaper either as the big providers like Comcast, Cox, and Verizon continue to raise their rates.

    Commenting on the lawsuit, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said: “the Justice Department should not have to spend valuable time and resources to file this suit today, but we have a duty to defend the prerogatives of the federal government and protect our Constitutional order.” He’s right but not in the way he thinks he is. The DOJ should not be wasting time and resources in this suit because the majority of Americans are in favor of net neutrality. Not that I think the Federal Government will spend too much money on this suit as it appears like a big portion of the Trump Administration has been bought and paid for by the internet service conglomerates, and they’re not even trying to hide it very well.

     
  • Geebo 10:21 am on September 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , net neutrality,   

    NYT suing the FCC over alleged Russian involvement in net neutrality proceedings 

    NYT suing the FCC over alleged Russian involvement in net neutrality proceedings

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

    Once again, it appears that the FCC is actively trying to boondoggle the public when it comes to their repeal of net neutrality protections that had been put in place by the Obama Administration. If you’ll recall during the public appeal period leading up to the repeal, the FCC claimed that their website designed to elicit public opinion fell victim to a denial of service attack by net neutrality supporters. That turned out to not be true. Instead, the real reason the FCC site failed may be more insidious.

    The New York Times has been actively pursuing the FCC through Freedom of Information Act requests to get the logs of the email and IP addresses the attackers used to bring down the website. Not surprisingly, the FCC has been very uncooperative when it comes to releasing the logs. The Times believes that the site’s crashing was due to Russian interference from over 500,000 fake email addresses that originated from Russia. The New York Times has now resorted to suing the FCC to obtain these records.

    This should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following the Trump Administration’s net neutrality debacle. Between the allegations of ties the Trump Administration has to Russia and the fact that FCC chairman Ajit Pai is a former Verzion executive it’s apparent to anyone who takes a close look at the situation that the current FCC is probably in the pockets of the big internet service providers and also appear to be covering up another possible scandal in this administration’s long list of them.

     
  • Geebo 9:08 am on August 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , net neutrality   

    FCC admits there was no cyberattack, blames Obama administration in the process 

    FCC admits there was no cyberattack, blames Obama administration in the process

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has not been shy in his zeal to repeal the Obama-era regulations known as net neutrality. These were the regulations that required internet providers to treat all internet traffic as equal. Last year, after Pai announced the FCC’s intention to repeal net neutrality there was a 60-day period in which consumers could go to the FCC’s website to make their opinions known. Due to the large amount of traffic that the website received it was unavailable at times during the comment period. The FCC claimed this was a denial of service attack (DDoS). This allowed Pai and the FCC to question the credibility of any comments in support of net neutrality. Now, the FCC has admitted that no such attack took place.

    Yesterday, Mr. Pai released a statement saying that the Government Accountability Office’s investigation showed that no denial of service attack took place. However, Mr. Pai quickly attempted to deflect blame from himself and the current administration. Instead, he blamed a former holdover from the Obama administration for the inaccurate information’.

    “I want to thank the Office of the Inspector General, both for its thorough effort to get to the bottom of what happened and for the comprehensive report it has issued,” Pai said in a statement Monday. “With respect to the report’s findings, I am deeply disappointed that the FCC’s former Chief Information Officer (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. This is completely unacceptable.”

    Specifically, Pai is blaming the FCC’s former chief information officer David Bray. Bray left the FCC last year to pursue a position with an international coalition that was created to ensure that the Internet continues to improve people’s lives. That coalition was founded by one of tej internet’s foremost pioneers, Vint Cerf. Whereas, Ajit Pai is a former executive for one of the country’s largest internet providers in Verizon.

    As has been Ajit Pai’s M.O. this is just more misdirection when it comes to having a free and open internet in our country. Pai makes laughable claims that net neutrality would stifle industry innovation and hurt smaller ISPs. Yet somehow, protecting regional internet monopolies like Verizon and Comcast wouldn’t do those exact things.

    While net neutrality may currently be dead, it doesn’t have to be that way forever. In many places in our country, today is election day for many primary races. If you want net neutrality restored, go to your local polls and vote for the candidates who support it. Things won’t change overnight, but they won’t change at all if we do nothing.

     
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