US regulator website hacked after TV host comments

May 9, 2017
Proponents of net neutrality protest against Federal Communication Commission Chairman Ajit Pai on May 5, 2017

The US agency regulating internet policy said Monday its website was attacked after a TV host urged viewers to pressure officials over plans to roll back "net neutrality" rules.

The Federal Communications Commission, whose chairman last month promised to review a 2015 rule that requires broadband firms to treat all online traffic equally, said it was hit by a denial of service attack, which is a flood of traffic aimed at taking down a website.

"These were deliberate attempts by external actors to bombard the FCC's comment system with a high amount of traffic to our commercial cloud host," the FCC said in a statement.

"These actors were not attempting to file comments themselves; rather they made it difficult for legitimate commenters to access and file with the FCC."

The action came after John Oliver, who hosts the widely watched satirical news program "Last Week Tonight," rebuked the FCC for its action and called on viewers to make their sentiments known to the regulator.

Oliver mocked FCC chairman Ajit Pai's claim that voluntary measures would keep broadband firms from blocking out rivals as a pledge "as binding as a proposal on 'The Bachelor.'"

Oliver created a web link where viewers can offer their comments, and also suggested in a tweet that they "urge the FCC to keep strong net neutrality rules."

The FCC did not respond to an AFP request for comment on whether Oliver's comments had anything to do with the attacks.

Pai, appointed by President Donald Trump, said in April he will propose a reversal of the 2015 order and seek to return to "a light-touch regulatory framework," which he argued has "enabled the internet to grow and evolve beyond almost anyone's expectations."

Net neutrality has been the subject of legal and political battles for over a decade, with both sides claiming to represent a "free and open" internet.

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7 comments

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rderkis
1 / 5 (1) May 09, 2017
If we the people don't want and won't defend the privilege of a comment section on a government website then the government should take the comment section down.

Personally I am offended and outraged that someone should try to take, our way to be publicly heard, away from us by a denial of service attack against OUR (government's) website.
pdavisgenoa
5 / 5 (2) May 09, 2017
So far the FCC has offered no proof that there was an actual DNS attack. The only thing we know for certain is that before Oliver bought and set up gofccyourself.com that the FCC had a ridiculously complicated gauntlet you had to get through in order to leave a comment. Watch Oliver's clip to see exactly what steps you had to take and it's obvious it was a blatant attempt to shut down and choke public comment.
Oliver's site cut through the maze and took you straight to the comments. It was done to make public comment easier - which the FCC should have done itself - not to shut down the site. It was only shut down because of a flood of legitimate commenters. Until they offer proof the FCC has given us no reason to trust their word on this.
rderkis
1 / 5 (1) May 09, 2017
So far the FCC has offered no proof

Their word is good enough for me. They exist to serve me.
I realize you conspiralits probably think they are in league with the martians or somthing.
barakn
3 / 5 (2) May 09, 2017
Asking people to comment is NOT the same thing as a denial of service attack. If the government has not allocated enough resources to withstand a flood of comments from angry citizens, it's the government's fault.
antialias_physorg
3.5 / 5 (2) May 09, 2017
Asking people to comment is NOT the same thing as a denial of service attack.

Maybe they just launched a preemptive denial of service attack on themselves so that all the people couldn't comment?

Just a thought.
rderkis
1 / 5 (1) May 09, 2017
it's the government's fault.

Right it's our fault because unlike you, I realize WE are the government.
You watch how many nut cases come on here with their conspiracy theories. It's the government in cahoots with the martians.
PTTG
5 / 5 (1) May 09, 2017
Worth pointing out here, rderkis thinks global warming is a conspiracy of climate scientists, but Trump's FCC exists to serve him.

I for one hope rderkis finds his way back to the mirror universe he evidently came from.

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