Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Net Neutrality - Spam on Both Sides?

People are decrying that the FCC's net neutrality comments submission page was spammed.   And it was - by people on both sides of the debate.  By the way, what's the deal with the goofy oversized coffee mug?  He is drinking soup out of that?

Ajit Pai and Bobby Jindal are proof of one thing:  People of Indian descent can be charming and endearing, provided they have that great Indian/British accent.   Strip that away, and well, they are just plain goofy.   Check out this video by Bobby Jindal, and this one by Ajit Pai.   Bollywood, this ain't.

Ajit Pai's video is particularly cringe-worthy, sort of like the Dad who wants to be "cool with the kids" but is failing badly.  Very, very badly.  "Hey kids, I can do this Internets stuff, too!  Look, I made a Youtube Video wearing funny glasses and using a fidget spinner!  You kids like those fidget spinners, right?  Well, you'll like the net neutrality repeal even better!"

Cue annoying whistling music.

Pai is clearly lying in the video, and he doesn't make too much of an attempt to hide it.   No doubt he will have a cushy job with a telco in a few years when he retires from the FCC - maybe next year.  Maybe this year.  Job done, time to cash in!

Many have argued that the rulemaking process was flawed and that the "comments" submitted during the rulemaking process were spammed by trolls for the telcos.  This may be true, but it appears there was a lot of trolling going on, with some comments being submitted by both sides, hundreds if not thousands of times.

This site allows you to check to see if someone posting a message to the FCC about net neutrality in your name.

I checked my name and found thousands of identical comments made under my name.  It is a fairly common name, of course, which is why I use my middle name "Platt" to distinguish myself from the thousands of other Robert Bells out there (and you thought it was some sort of vanity thing).

Someone from Minnesota, named "Robert Bell" submitted the same comment, dozens, if not hundreds of times, against net neutrality.   A typical comment - repeated thousands of times under different names, is as follows:

I am in favor of strong net neutrality under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. Sincerely, Robert Bell

Another "Robert Bell" from Kentucky, submitted a plethora of comments against net neutrality.  A typical comment - repeated thousands of times under different names is as follows:

Before leaving office, the Obama Administration rammed through a massive scheme that gave the federal government broad regulatory control over the internet. That misguided policy decision is threatening innovation and hurting broadband investment in one of the largest and most important sectors of the U.S. economy. I support the Federal Communications Commission's decision to roll back Title II and allow for free market principles to guide our digital economy.

Here's a radical idea:  How about not using the internet to obtain comments about any pending rulemaking?  It is all-too-easy to bot and spam the Internet.

It is like online polls - worthless, as only people who feel strongly will respond.

For example, under the name "Joe Blow" you find this comment (repeated dozens, if not hundreds of times):

IF you want Net Neutrality then you agree with Hillary Clinton. Stupid Pleabs

Which clearly is a bot at work - one without spell check, apparently.

The point is, people are crying "foul!" and saying the telcos were spamming the FCC.  So they go online and encourage others to... spam the FCC.   Their argument, apparently is that if the other side is doing it, we should, too.

But whether the FCC takes comments submitted through a poorly-vetted online process is debatable.  And let's face it, the conclusion was forgone - a "business-friendly" administration was going to ram this through, comments or no comments.

In other words, there is no there there, and getting riled up about this, serves to purpose.   Double if you voted for Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, some Libertarian know-nothing, or even Donald Trump himself.

Yes, a lot of people who are "outraged" about the actions of Donald Trump are the same ones who put him in office.   And by their actions, they will likely keep him there for eight years.   Every time some "anarchist" trashes a McDonald's during a protest, another American votes Republican.