Blockbuster Gizmodo investigation reveals probable masterminds of the massive anti-Net Neutrality identity theft/astroturf campaign

#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/02/22/notice-and-comment-and-lie.html

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#2

Why in the fuck does a public commenting system even have an API? That’s asking for abuse!

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#3

That went both ways. In the months after this all went down, I received e-mails from my Senator and district Congresscritter thanking me for reaching out to them and joining them in their support for net neutrality.

I do support it, but I didn’t reach out to them about it, or to anyone. Their e-mails were sent to the address associated with this forum right here, an address I don’t use for much of anything else.

So…yeah.

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#4

Hey, this sounds like JOURNALISM. We don’t take kindly to journalists in this here ‘murcia.

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#5

from the article:

While it’s FCC policy to accept and help manually upload spreadsheets containing batches of comments collected by virtually anyone, it also offers access to an API system that give groups … the ability to create their own submission pages that feed directly into the agency’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS).

basically, it allows for freedom of assembly. organizations can reach out to their members on topics, and the organization can respond with the comments they’ve gathered.

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#6

My teenage daughter’s name ended up as one of the names used by the bots. Since she had no social media affiliations at the time I can only surmise that her name came from the school roles somehow, or the yearbook company. Creepy.

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#7

Anecdotal evidence with nothing to back it up got us the illegal ban on Net Neutrality. I’m sorry I can’t take just your word on this.

#8

No need to apologize. Doesn’t change the fact that it happened. To me. That’s the beginning and end of my claim, really. Maybe I was the only one. I am frightfully important, after all.

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#9

You mean the news organization called Roll Call, or their parent company, The Economist?

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#10

And in no way am I excusing any creepy scum who impersonated you to your
congressional representatives.

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#11

Why is everyone so coy about this?

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#12

Too bad nothing will come of this. If the Trump regime is good at anything, it’s at looking the other way when crimes are occurring.

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#13

“…nothing you can do. Although the Second Amendment people … maybe there is, I don’t know.”

– Presidential Candidate Donald Trump

#14

I understand your point, but the government isn’t required to create technology to facilitate freedom of assembly (which is by its nature about supporting individual groups), it just can’t prevent freedom of assembly. If an API is being abused, there’s no reason it can’t be shutdown.

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#15

Gizmodo writers Dell Cameron and Jason Prechtel have done incredible work

Good work, indeed!

#16

totally. that said, any input via electronic means becomes a defacto api. ( see “rest”, the get/post/put verbs of the web. )

short of associating a phone number, a credit card, or some other hard to generate personal identifier ( which has it’s own issues ) - any web based input will be abused. ( please let’s never vote via http. )

you might as well present the interface in a more formal way and gain a little information about who’s using it and how.

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#17

Lock him up

#18

Yes, I agree, REST is a kind of API. I was thinking they could use techniques to try to prevent API abuse, rather than facilitate its abuse, if that was their goal. I’m not sure that was their goal though.

#19

This is no surprise. The only thing new here is an idea of who the actual astroturfers were. Anyone with any sense at all knew this waterfall of lies was going to happen the instant they heard Pai had been put in charge of the FCC. That wasn’t “fox in charge of the henhouse”, that was “Unabomber in charge of a dynamite factory”.

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#20

Thank God there are people intelligent and motivated and capable to find these things for the rest of us. Honestly I’m at the point where I’d like to just put all of these cretins on an island and use it for a new atom bomb test.

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