In a cyber world (as well as a real world) that is becoming increasingly strange, the FCC has received thousands of fake comments from Russia and two other foreign countries in opposition to its proposal to ease regulations relating to net neutrality rules.
Our blog a few weeks back addressed the large number of obscene, racial, death-threatening and otherwise inappropriate comments from alleged comedian John Oliver and many others on the unhinged, hysterical alt-left, regarding the Commission’s plan to re-regulate ISPs as Title I versus Title II carriers. Now, the news of similarly bogus comments pouring in from other countries makes the situation even more bizarre.
It has been reported that in just one recent 7-day period, over 60,000 comments were received from Russia, more than 92,000 from France, and almost 85,000 from Germany. Most came from a single domain in each country, and almost all used fictitious addresses – both email and physical. None, apparently, were signed by Vladimir Putin, Emmanuel Macron, or Angela Merkel.
Until the election of President Trump and its incomprehensible backlash, this kind of major FCC regulatory proceeding might have occasioned a professionally-waged battle within the industry, garnered interest in the press, and caused concern amongst the populace. We are now in a far, far different age, however—one of massive propaganda attacks, violent protests, death threats, graphic and disturbing images, unmitigated nastiness, fake news and false comments.
It appears that there are several factors that have led to this complete breakdown of civil and rational behavior, to wit: the absolute dominance of the internet over the life of so many in the developed world – including its unique ability to deliver masses of information, including false comments; the net’s extreme political importance in disseminating information (true and false), soliciting contributions, and mobilizing voters; and the current climate of seething hatred of anything Trump by the angry, hostile, and deranged far out, antifa, alt-left.
Even considering that there is no evidence that President Trump colluded in the Russian filings, we can’t be sure that Democrats will not demand another investigation. After all, it was the Russians – according to them – that stole the presidential election from Hillary. There is no telling what Putin and his minions could do to thwart a simple FCC proceeding, right?
Seriously, though, we are fairly sure that the U.S. government — at its highest levels – is assessing the issue of these massive quantities of fake comments, along with other forms of hacks and attacks. Both the domestic and foreign attempts to inundate and overwhelm the FCC comment system with sheer numbers, and the hundreds of thousands of false, one-sided comments that appear to represent a huge public outcry against deregulation of the internet, could pose a major threat to the FCC’s long-standing comment process.
As of now, fake comments may be considered somewhat of an anomaly, or perhaps a silly form of protest by foolish people like John Oliver. As these false comments become more sophisticated and increasingly difficult to detect, however, they could have a detrimental effect on important regulatory decisions.