back to article Senators want FBI to vet FCC's 'cyberattack' claims

A group of Senate Democrats is asking the FBI to take a close look at the reported "denial of service" the FCC blamed for the collapse of its comment system earlier this month. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Al Franken (D-MN) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) all signed on to the letter [PDF] today, …

  1. tom dial Silver badge

    In my humble opinion

    The FBI has a number of more important matters to deal with, the first of them getting on with its inquiry into Russian attempts to interfere with the 2016 US general election and the numerous allegations of contacts between Trump campaign and White House personnel and the not very subtle suggestions that they were improper or even illegal.

    If the FBI has enough manpower to spend on a DDOS claim involving the FCC, which plainly was going to do what it was, they can use them instead to expedite those investigations. Whether one is for or against Trump, they are important enough to require completion as rapidly as possible.

    1. Youngone Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: In my humble opinion

      Everyone knows what happened, and there seems to be plenty of evidence of people's names being used to submit comments they knew nothing about.

      It is entirely possible that the ISP astroturfing campaign has broken the law, but the likelihood of anyone seeing the inside of a criminal court over the affair seems remote.

      The FBI should take a look at this, as it is their job but the fact it is a bunch of Democrats calling for it means that with the balance of power against them at the moment, it probably won't happen.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In my humble opinion

        This astroturfing works both ways. So if the Democrats want the FBI involved then the Electronic Frontier Foundation's pro-net-neutrality robo-commenting will need a thorough airing too.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: In my humble opinion

          All robo commenting should be prevented to the extent possible, and if not prevented basically ignored. Any comments that are basically form letters with your name inserted should be given almost no weight, because going to some web site where you can enter your email address and click a button to file a form letter with your name attached isn't exactly showing you attach much importance to the issue - and it is really easy to use someone else's email address or a script with thousands of email addresses you created on gmail for personal astroturfing.

    2. fishbone

      Re: In my humble opinion

      Oh please, don't make an effort to rationalize Hillary's failure, she's been beaten by the two least probable candidates of all time. You can't see a reason for that?

    3. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: In my humble opinion

      The FBI is a big Organisation. It has multiple branches, one of which is investigating IT related attacks. That branch is unlikely to be currently involved in the Russian Investigation which would be more then likely be being carried out by the foreign powers Investigation branch of the FBI. So I think you would find they can manage both investigations at the same time...

  2. DCFusor

    John O's link + astroturfing

    One reason John Oliver posted his direct link is that the FCC had made it really hard to get to the comments section manually - took a lot of clicks. Obviously they didn't want real comments, and/or couldn't handle a flood - but got them anyway. As in, someone with a laptop and a slow connection could probably have dos'd them by themselves.

    Then the cable companies, with the usual for-profit motives, piled on with what we know in some cases to be utterly fake comments - multiple ones from dead folks or live ones with the precisely same text, adding to the "denial of service".

    The FCC says they intend to keep those known-false "votes" anyway. Which is by itself interesting.

    If in fact they were DOS'd - how can they definitively say that it was people not trying to leave comments? Show us the logs! Could people have been hitting refresh in response to slow load times, or is that too just completely made up?

  3. Anonymous Coward

    I wouldn't be surprised if it was either the system getting flooded with comments or foul play

    The system may not be used to so many commenters coming at once. Let's remember, this is the same administration whose election victory resulted in the an unintentional DDoS of the Canadian immigration website! :)

    (Rule #1: Must love hockey!)

    1. Eddy Ito

      Re: I wouldn't be surprised if it was either the system getting flooded with comments or foul play

      The administration or country doesn't matter because it's general government that's incompetent. You do remember the roll out of back in 2013 don't you?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I wouldn't be surprised if it was either the system getting flooded with comments or foul play

        I'm trying to forget the rollout.

    2. Marshalltown

      Re: I wouldn't be surprised if it was either the system getting flooded with comments or foul play

      Making the system for commenting readily accessible would surely constitute foul play from the FCC's view point.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Gargle bargle argle...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Robo Commenting

    Its time robots got rights too.

  6. jimdandy

    As one US citizen who posted my personal beliefs regarding the FCC's role in ensuring equal access and equal treatment regarding the use of the Internet, I'd like to suggest that all of the bollocks and bimbos typically posting on The Reg hang back long enough to let those with an actual first-hand interest have their say.

    Doesn't mean you can't have at me right away; feel free. I've done better than you in my sleep. But let the rest of those who have a vested interest get a chance. If there are any.

    1. Arctic fox

      "As one US citizen who posted my personal beliefs"

      No doubt you thought that as an US citizen you were being smart by using the expression "bollocks and bimbos". You perhaps thought that throwing in the British English expression "bollocks" added something to your snide remarks. The only problem with that is that you cannot use the word "bollocks" as a noun referring to males in the same way that one can (if one is a tosser) use the word "bimbo" to refer to females. To illustrate correct usage of the word "bollocks" I will point out that bollocks was precisely what you posted.

    2. Marshalltown

      As one US citizen who posted my personal beliefs ...

      As one US citizen to another, where precisely did you post them? And why, as a US citizen, would you parade your ignorance of British slang on a UK website?

  7. Eddy Ito

    I assume the FCC knows how to play the game

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The same old story

    We have the Dems and the DUMBs working to do as much damage to the U.S. and the Trump administration as they can. Congress is comprised of a large percentage of criminals waiting to be prosecuted. It's time to limit Congressional reps to one term and done. They should receive modest compensation, the same healthcare as the populace is forced to accept and no retirement as they are servants of the people for one term only.

    The current system breeds corruption and a lavish lifestyle and platinum retirement compensation and benefits even if a rep serves only one day in office. It's similar in the White house with Obama's Mum receiving $160,000 / yr. plus a platinum retirement for being the "babysitter" of the children. It's so disgraceful as to be beyond comprehension... The Obama's recently signed a book deal for $6 million dollars. Is that what being president is all about? Is that serving the populace or pandering for millions?

    1. Marshalltown

      Re: The same old story

      With Trump acting as Trump, no one has to "work" to do him damage. One of the scariest things about the Republican Party is its steadfast appeal to the lowest common denominator in voters and the apparent search for the worst candidate it can get elected. Dan Quayle who happily never had a chance. Bush #2 who argued with unseen "voices" in public, recorded live on public TV. And now, a specimen of "reality TV" narcissism who was actually elected! We might not like Hillary, but Trump and his administration appear to aiming at beating her record on triggering investigations. And there were more investigations of Hillary than she served years in office. The Trump administration is achieving a new investigation on a monthly basis! Hillary was a terrible choice, but Trump? Really? It's getting so you can't do anything but laugh every time you hear about Trump "tweeting." "I t'o't I taw a puddy tat!"

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