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

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US government agencies can't just make up rules: they're require to show that the rules they make reflect the best evidence, and part of that is a "notice and comment" period for major policy shifts where the public gets to weigh in on proposals. When Trump's FCC Chairman Ajit Pai decided to kill Net Neutrality, he knew he had to open his systems up for public comment, but the anti-Net-Neutrality side had that figured out: they flooded the FCC with millions of fraudulent comments that used stolen identities (dead people, people caught in massive breaches, sitting US Senators!) to rehearse a word-salad of cable lobbyist talking points against Net Neutrality. Despite the mountains of evidence that the real comments were almost entirely in support of Net Neutrality, the FCC said it would give both bots and humans equal weight in its deliberations, and then it shut down the commenting system and stonewalled the States attorneys generals who were investigating the fake comments as a criminal matter. Now, Gizmodo writers Dell Cameron and Jason Prechtel have done incredible work, using freedom of information act requests to correlate the precise moment at which known-fake comments appeared in the FCC's comment system with the API keys used to submit comments a few seconds before the fake comments were registered, and were thus able to produce a high-confidence guess about the identities of the astroturfers who violated federal laws and defrauded the US government and the American people in order to help Ajit Pai kill Net Neutrality. Read the rest

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