DENVER — More than 7,000 Coloradans’ names and addresses have been used to post the same fake comment on the Federal Communications Commission’s decision on net neutrality.
The FCC is collecting public comment on its decision about whether or not to do away with net neutrality rules.
Net neutrality rules prevent internet providers from charging websites a fee to boost how fast their content gets to devices. The FCC could soon get rid of those rules.
A group or individual in favor of getting rid of the rules has created a bot that’s posting the same comment thousands of times under different people’s names and addresses.
According to a search of the FCC’s website, the same comment was posted by more than 7,000 Coloradans.
“No, I did not post this comment. In fact, I disagree with this comment,” Brad Emerick said.
“No, I did not. I have never seen this before in my life,” Daniel Trujillo said.
Metro State University of Denver computer science professor Steve Beaty said it would be easy for an individual to make this kind of bot.
Beaty said the people most interested in the net neutrality debate are tech savvy.
“Fifteen minutes of time with someone who knows what they’re doing and you’re done,” Beaty said.
Beaty said the information the bot is pulling — names and addresses — is likely coming from voter records on Colorado’s Secretary of State’s website or collected through data breaches over the years.
As for who is responsible for preventing this from happening, Beaty said it’s up to the FCC. He said the FCC should have steps built into its website to block bots from posting fake comments.
“I don’t think we as individuals have a lot to do because our voter recorders are a matter of public record. However, the FCC site can probably do quite a bit more,” Beaty said.
The FCC did not return calls for comment.
The name and address used to make comments can be found on the FCC’s website. Then, type a name into the “name of filer.”
To filter it further, fill a comment into the “search full text” section:
The unprecedented regulatory power the Obama Administration imposed on the internet is smothering innovation, damaging the American economy and obstructing job creation. I urge the Federal Communications Commission to end the bureaucratic regulatory overreach of the internet known as Title II and restore the bipartisan light-touch regulatory consensus that enabled the internet to flourish for more than 20 years. The plan currently under consideration at the FCC to repeal Obama’s Title II power grab is a positive step forward and will help to promote a truly free and open internet for everyone.