Over the weekend, comedian John Oliver launched another net neutrality broadside via his Last Week Tonight episode on HBO. As he did three years ago, he called for listeners to flood the FCC with comments in support of net neutrality.
If that surprised anyone, they clearly weren’t paying attention. I’m pretty sure Oliver had his takedown piece pre-written for months, just waiting for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to actually make his move.
However, what was a surprise was the fact that the FCC is now claiming that shortly after the broadcast, the FCC was hit by a DDoS attack that made it hard for anyone to make those comments.
It’s completely unclear what’s going on here. Might the FCC’s perpetually archaic website have simply been unprepared for a wave of traffic from commenters, much as they were last time? Oliver registered the website gofccyourself.com and set it to redirect visitors past most of the usual speed bumps one must traverse on fcc.gov to get to where comments can actually be made, which may have changed visit patterns rather substantially.
Or was someone actually trying to interfere with those comments from the other side of the debate? Nobody seems to be saying the Russians did it yet, but give it time. Seems doubtful though, given how ineffective it was – 184,650 comments and counting.
This is going to be a crazy summer at the FCC I suspect.
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