This was originally published on Liberal America on May 16, 2017.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has closed down comments on their website after a flood of comments regarding the issue of net neutrality. They explained it by saying someone created multiple distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks in order to “slow down” actual site users. Except, actual information security and cybersecurity experts cast numerous doubts on the FCCs claims.
Since then, the FCC claims it needs a period to “reflect” on the comments they’ve gotten, and that’s why public commenting is now closed.
That just sounds nuts! Can’t they just not read the comments for a while? Can’t they build a system to save the comments for later? They’re the FCC!
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has a website where it will help you write a letter to the FCC and they will make sure the organization actually gets it regardless of the closed comments
From the FCC’s statement on the matter:
“Beginning on Sunday night at midnight, our analysis reveals that the FCC was subject to multiple distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS). 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. These actors were not attempting to file comments themselves; rather they made it difficult for legitimate commenters to access and file with the FCC. While the comment system remained up and running the entire time, these DDoS events tied up the servers and prevented them from responding to people attempting to submit comments. We have worked with our commercial partners to address this situation and will continue to monitor developments going forward.”
John Oliver reported on the issue last week on Last Week Tonight where he urged people to go to the FCC website and comment in favor of net neutrality.
The FCC Director Ajit Pai gave a speech about net neutrality during which he denied that net neutrality is even in danger. He said:
“Nothing about the Internet was broken in 2015. Nothing about the law had changed. And there wasn’t a rash of Internet service providers blocking customers from accessing the content, applications, or services of their choice.”
He conveniently forgot the time that AT&T forced iPhone users to sign up for more expensive mobile data plans in order to use FaceTime. He also forgot the time that AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile blocked Google Wallet so that users would go to their mobile payment programs. These kinds of things could keep happening if net neutrality rules are taken away from us.
This was originally published on Liberal America on May 5, 2017.
Trigger Warning: There are mentions of graphic scenes and content.
A girl in Central Georgia attempted suicide via Facebook live. Luckily, Facebook users who recognized her called the police, and they were able to save her life. When the deputies found her, she had consumed pills and placed a plastic bag over her head.
She streamed her plans over Facebook before consuming the pills. The police received a call from a “concerned adult” about 20 minutes after the video began. The deputies came in through the bathroom window and found the girl unconscious on the floor. Luckily, she is doing okay now and will go home soon.
Bibb County Sargent Linda Howard told NBC News:
“This is our first case like this. It was likely a cry for help. When you’re doing something like that live, you’re hoping someone will stop you … Deputies on the scene were happy they were able to save her and bring her back to her family.”
Howard also urged teens to speak up if they are concerned for a friend. Don’t just ask your friend if they are okay or tell them not to do it. Call 9-1-1. Your local police and sheriff’s deputies are there to help.
Sheriff David Davis told the newspaper:
“It’s a good thing that the people watching this called it in. Those people did the right thing.”
Davis also said:
“… We are a voyeuristic society. It’s really troubling that you have things like this, to have access to people being able to put something up live, as it happens. … We see more often that it ends in regret.”
This comes after we have experienced a string of violent videos posted via Facebook Live. Facebook announced this week that they are hiring an additional 3,000 people on top of the 4,500 people they already have to review videos posted on Facebook Live. They hope to get these videos taken down sooner in the event of something bad being posted.