We have talked about how neutrality in the US is in crisis, and how the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), whose job most people would see as protecting that neutrality, is while on the one hand insisting that it is still ‘dedicated’ to the concept, is preparing new rules that would achieve the exact opposite, creating ‘fast lanes’ for providers who can pay for them, and therefore creating a ‘two-tier’ internet (Techdirt has a nice article on why this is terrible news for small businesses and startups).
In the face of stiff criticism, the FCC has put the proposals up for a 60-day consultation period, in which the public are encouraged to comment (this will be followed by 60-day decision-making period).
Last Wednesday however, the comments site was reported ‘broken’, after receiving over 47,000 comments over 30 days (a special email address which was also set up to receive comments received a further 300,000 emails). It is only today that the site is reported open again.
Part of the problem appears to an ‘unintentional’ DDoS attack following screening of the HBO TV show Last Week Tonight, in which British-born host John Oliver delivered a searing (and very comical) tirade against the FCC and its stance on net neutrality, and encouraged internet ‘trolls’ to do something constructive by contributing to the FCC proposal’s comments section,
‘For once in your lives, focus your indiscriminate rage in a useful direction. Seize your moment, my lovely trolls, turn on caps lock, and fly my pretties! Fly! Fly! Fly!’
Oliver accused the FCC of behaving like the mafia and drug cartels, and argued that people would be outraged if they understood the consequences of the changes,
‘The cable companies have figured out… if you want to do something evil, put it inside something boring…. “Net neutrality”, the only two words in the English language more boring are “featuring Sting”.’
The FCC earlier admitted it was ‘experiencing technical difficulties with our comment system due to heavy traffic’, but told Variety that it was ‘unclear if the high volume was directly related to the John Oliver segment.’