The FCC Sabotaged Its Own Public Comments Process

The FCC sabotaged its own public comments process. Congress needs to stop them from voting to kill net neutrality on December 14!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 30, 2017

Contact: Evan Greer, press@fightforthefuture.org, 978-852-6457

Yesterday’s Pew Research study led to incorrect reports

Yesterday, the Pew Research Group released a study that triggered a number of new reports about issues…

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The FCC Sabotaged Its Own Public Comments Process

The FCC sabotaged its own public comments process. Congress needs to stop them from voting to kill net neutrality on December 14!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 30, 2017

Contact: Evan Greer, press@fightforthefuture.org, 978-852-6457

Yesterday’s Pew Research study led to incorrect reports

Yesterday, the Pew Research Group released a study that triggered a number of new reports about issues within the FCC’s net neutrality comment docket. The Pew study, unfortunately, contained a number of serious inaccuracies, and lacked needed context in a way that conflated legitimate grassroots advocacy and organic online outrage with malicious attempts to manipulate the FCC docket with fraud.

“The FCC sabotaged its own public comment process for the exact purpose of sowing the type of confusion that we’re seeing now,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, “They knowingly allowed malicious actors to abuse their system and submit enormous numbers of fraudulent comments using real people’s names and addresses without their permission, and they’ve refused to cooperate with investigations or transparency laws.”

She continued, “Their goal is to obscure the fact that the overwhelming majority of people from across the political spectrum oppose Ajit Pai’s extreme proposal to gut net neutrality protections. All you have to do is look at the unique comments in the docket that people took the time to draft by hand: almost 99% of them support existing net neutrality protections. Congress must take action now to demand the FCC cancel its planned vote on December 14. It’s unconscionable that the agency would move forward with such a controversial proposal while so many allegations of serious fraud and abuse surround their rulemaking proceeding.”

Here are some key things that the Pew study got wrong:

The original Pew study claimed that there had only been 450,000 comments during the FCC debate in 2014. There were closer to 4 million. Pew has since corrected this error after we brought it to their attention, but they have not addressed the points below.

The Pew study claims that comedian John Oliver promoted our net neutrality advocacy site BattleForTheNet.com – to our knowledge that is incorrect. During his viral net neutrality segment, John Oliver directed viewers to his own page: GoFCCYourself.comThe study casts suspicion on legitimate comments using the text from BattleForTheNet.com, noting that 476,000+ were submitted at the same time on July 19. That’s because these comments were submitted as a CSV using the FCC’s “bulk upload” option, a perfectly legitimate way to submit comments to the agency, and in fact the one that the agency encouraged groups to use. Pew never asked us about this, or we would have been happy to provide them with the records of this.
The study claims that the large bulk of comments came from “a small number of organizations,” and points to BattleForTheNet.com as an example. However, this is a mischaracterization of what the site is. It’s an Internet-wide coalition effort that has been promoted by dozens of public interest organizations, hundreds of startups, and thousands of websites, apps, and online communities who participated in the July 12 day of action and other campaigns.

Overall, the study fails to give readers needed context to understand the difference between a legitimate comment submitted through a site that provides a concerned constituent to add their name to a default statement, and comments that were submitted using real people’s names and addresses, likely stolen from breached databases, without those people’s permission or knowledge. The study seemed to be unaware of the various ongoing investigations surrounding this issue – including a law enforcement investigation by the New York Attorney General’s office. By failing to include essential information about the comments they analyzed, the Pew study offers a distorted view of what’s happening in the net neutrality docket.

Net Neutrality


This could be your last chance to stop ISPs from messing up your Internet.

The FCC is about to announce a vote to slash net neutrality rules, allowing ISPs like Verizon to block apps, slow websites, and charge fees to control what you see & do online. Once they announce the vote, it’s hard to stop. But if we flood them with calls now, *Congress* can stop the vote.

What isnet neutrality? Why…

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Net Neutrality


This could be your last chance to stop ISPs from messing up your Internet.

The FCC is about to announce a vote to slash net neutrality rules, allowing ISPs like Verizon to block apps, slow websites, and charge fees to control what you see & do online. Once they announce the vote, it’s hard to stop. But if we flood them with calls now, *Congress* can stop the vote.

What isnet neutrality? Why…

View On WordPress

Net Neutrality

This could be your last chance to stop ISPs from messing up your Internet.

The FCC is about to announce a vote to slash net neutrality rules, allowing ISPs like Verizon to block apps, slow websites, and charge fees to control what you see & do online. Once they announce the vote, it’s hard to stop. But if we flood them with calls now, *Congress* can stop the vote.

What is net neutrality? Why does it matter?

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet providers like Comcast & Verizon should not control what we see and do online. In 2015, startups, Internet freedom groups, and 3.7 million commenters won strong net neutrality rules from the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC). The rules prohibit Internet providers from blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization—”fast lanes” for sites that pay, and slow lanes for everyone else.

We are Team Internet. We support net neutrality, freedom of speech.

Nearly everyone who understands and depends on the Internet supports net neutrality, whether they’re startup founders, activists, gamers, politicians, investors, comedians, YouTube stars, or typical Internet users who just want their Internet to work as advertised—regardless of their political party.

They are Team Cable. They want to end net neutrality, to control & tax the Internet.

Cable companies are famous for high prices and poor service. Several rank as the most hated companies in America. Now, they’re lobbying the FCC and Congress to end net neutrality. Why? It’s simple: if they win the power to slow sites down, they can bully any site into paying millions to escape the “slow lane.” This would amount to a tax on every sector of the American economy. Every site would cost more, since they’d all have to pay big cable. Worse, it would extinguish the startups and independent voices who can’t afford to pay. If we lose net neutrality, the Internet will never be the same.

On July 12, 2017, thousands of us protested to defend Internet freedom.

In just one day, websites large and small participated in one of the biggest online protests ever, reaching tens of millions of people, driving over 2 million comments to the FCC and over 5 million emails—and over 124,000 calls—to members of Congress. See the screenshots.

Fight for the Future

Center for Media Justice

Free Press Action Fund

Demand Progress

GitHub

Etsy

Kickstarter

Netflix

Twitter

Vimeo

BoingBoing

Private Internet Access

Reddit

Y Combinator

Mozilla

EFF

OkCupid

18 Million Rising

99 Designs

AALL

accessnow

ACLU

Discord

Automattic

View More

Now, we must convince Congress to stop the FCC. Can you display an alert?

We need your help. Congress could come out to stop the FCC, but generating calls in every House district requires massive amounts of traffic. You can display a prominent alert on your site that shows the world what the web will look like without net neutrality—and asks your visitors to call. Click here for a demo or grab the code on GitHub. None of these will actually block, slow, or paywall your site. But, they will let your users contact their representatives in Congress without having to leave your page. They appear once per user per day and users can easily click away. Just add this line of code to your site’s header:

https://widget.battleforthenet.com/widget.js

Where do your members of Congress stand? Find out, and tweet them!

To win, we need to bring more members of Congress onto “Team Internet”—especially Republicans. Republican members of Congress face massive pressure from party leadership to oppose Net Neutrality, partly because of lobbying by Team Cable, and partly because they see it as “Obama era” policy. But Net Neutrality predates Obama, has always been a design principle of the Internet, and does not need to be a partisan issue. Some Republicans are open to the need for rules—but they won’t break ranks from party leaders unless they hear from constituents. Tweets are surprisingly effective—and you should still call too.

Want to go above and beyond? Visit your member of Congress.

Meeting in person with your member of Congress is by far the most high-impact thing most people can do right now. Ever since the July 12 Day of Action, we’ve been helping set up Team Internet meetings with members of Congress. Click here to find a Team Internet drop-in visit, scheduled meeting, or town hall near you. If you’re a local business owner who could be harmed by a loss of net neutrality rules, that’s even more persuasive. Be in touch.

Extra Reading

Here are some excellent articles for additional depth. They cover the issue, its political history, the struggles we’ve overcome, and the fight ahead in Congress and at the FCC.

Link

Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?

On September 10th, just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.

Battle For The Net #InternetSlowdown

Battle For The Net #InternetSlowdown

Battle For The Net #InternetSlowdown.

Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?

View On WordPress

Battle For The Net #InternetSlowdown

Battle For The Net #InternetSlowdown.

Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?

View On WordPress

Link

Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?
On September 10th, just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.

Battle For The Net #InternetSlowdown