net neutrality

Was The FCC Website Actually Attacked – Or Is There a Cover Up?

Ajit Pai
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

A recent report surfaced, which casts some doubt on the FCC’s explanation of why their website went down in 2017, during the public comment period for net neutrality protections.  If you remember all the way back to 2017, this particular outage was the reason that people weren’t able to provide comments on chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to eliminate net neutrality rules.  Ultimately Pai and a couple of other top level, FCC officials, blamed it on a DDoS attack.  They also referenced another outage that happened back in 2014, which they’re saying was for the same reason.  This whole idea is kind of shady, and a bit suspect.  Or at least I think so.  And I think you’ll agree with me once you hear what I have to say.

Back in 2014, the FCC was looking for comments on the amended net neutrality guidelines that would allow ISPs to sell access to “fast lanes”.  Think about this for a moment.  How is this connected to the more recent net neutrality comments?  Both are unpopular.  I mean, no one wants to pay more for something – like the internet – and yet, coincidentally, there was a DDoS attack both times the FCC attempts to get comments on an unpopular proposal.  I’m not one to support conspiracy theories, but this certainly sounds like these things might be related.

conspiracy theory

But by reference the older incident, the officials are saying that it’s not about the issue itself, but the website is being a target of these DDoS attacks.  Which, they’re “prone” to receiving anyway.  The problem with this?  The former FCC chairman – Tom Wheeler – indicated that the 2014 attack never happened.  Maybe this conspiracy thing isn’t looking so bad after all?

This whole thing is kind of funny if you ask me.  The 2017 outage was likely caused because of the fact that John Oliver urged his audience to write into the FCC website in order to voice their concerns about net neutrality.  But here’s where it gets interesting. Former FCC IT Chief, David Bray, is the one who said indicated that both outages were as a result of an attack.  Further, he went onto say that then-chairman, Tom Wheeler, didn’t want to publicize what had happened, out of concerns that someone might try to do this again.  Wheeler, however, went on record to say that there wasn’t a cover-up because the attack, in fact, never happened.  So who is telling the truth?  Or what are they trying to cover up?

AjitPai
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Regardless of what did happen, the FCC doesn’t plan on revealing what actually happened, or if someone was lying about the attacks, to begin with.  As I said, I’m not one who usually supports a conspiracy theory unless, of course, there is merit to it.  In this case, I definitely think something is being covered up, but its hard to say if we will ever truly know what the reason is.  In any case, I think it’s important for us to think about this critically, and examine the timing of these two incidents.  To me, that’s not a conspiracy.  As I said earlier, both are coming as a result of two very unpopular scenarios, and it’s possible that the FCC doesn’t want to take your concerns into consideration so they can push these through.

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