Behind The Tweet: Fake Comments

Surprisingly few post-election tweets yesterday, but today is the FCC’s vote on “net neutrality,” and this appeared this morning:

You just identified them yesterday, huh? I could have told you most of the comments were fake a long time ago. In fact, I think I did write that in one of my previous blog posts on net neutrality (it was to that same AG guy). Because obviously, when you open up “public comment” in the form of electronic submissions (Internet, texts, faxes, phone calls), you are just asking for a botnet assault. Only in-person comments from someone with a valid identification, and maybe even two forms of photo identification these days, can really be trusted. A handwritten letter is probably genuine, but could also be fake, given that you could pay someone on Fiver two cents an hour to sit around writing thousands of letters, gather them up, then drive around the country mailing them from various post offices with fake return addresses. It’s not like anyone is going to double-check that the sender actually sent the letter. I mean, it would be a lot of work, obviously, but people do crazy things to try to force their opinions down everyone’s throat. The point is that almost every form of communication is gameable by Russians, anarchists, hackers, or activists these days.

And besides, let’s say we delay the vote, what is the plan to stop all the fake comments in the next public comment period? Or is the plan to spam the FCC with favorable fake comments? What’s the point of that?

There is also the minor issue that nobody has any clue what “net neutrality” really means, except for what their favorite activist has told them, which may or may not be accurate, because your favorite activist probably isn’t a network engineer.

This FCC vote is obviously going to pass–today, tomorrow, or two years from now, because this is a Republican administration and 3 of the 5 members of the FCC board are Republicans. I mean, maybe it won’t, just to give myself some wiggle room, but seriously, it will. I skimmed over the draft and it makes some solid arguments that are going to take more than just “oh but we really, really think net neutrality is good” to refute.

The correct course of action for a permanent net neutrality solution is for Congress to get off its butt, learn what an “Internet” is, and pass some laws.

No, I’m not optimistic about that either.