Home » Technology News » The debate on the neutrality of the network in the United States has turned into a battle of bots to a day of the voting

The debate on the neutrality of the network in the United States has turned into a battle of bots to a day of the voting

Following the announcement by Ajit Pai, president of the Federal Communications Commission of the United States, to approve the repeal of the regulations on net neutrality made during the Obama era, those that prevent telecommunications companies from being able to to deal differently with Internet traffic, a period of public consultation on the initiative was opened.

At the beginning of October, the data analysis company Gravwell claimed that of the 22 million comments sent to the FCC on the net neutrality debate, only 17.4% were genuine.

Also, most of those that had been made in the middle of the year were contrary to an egalitarian Internet and most had been sent en masse using the API provided by the FCC for mass mailings or bots. By contrast, people who had written directly on the agency’s website supported “overwhelmingly the regulations on net neutrality,” according to researcher Corey Thuen.

A postponement of the vote has been requested

The situation has not changed since then, but it has gotten worse. So much so, as Wired reveals today, a member of the Federal Communications Commission and several members of the US Congress, including a Republican congressman, have asked that the vote on the neutrality of tomorrow’s network, December 14, be postponed to take out an investigation.

However, the plans are not going to change and in about 24 hours we can be facing a historic day in the history of the network for good or bad, with bots, protests and a letter from the “network parents” through.

The contamination of the debate with bots against the neutrality of the network seems a fact

In statements to the US media Brian Hart, head of media relations at the FCC, assures that the agency is focusing on the legal arguments included in the comments made, regardless of the majority of support on one side or the other.

The purpose of a rule making procedure is not to see who can throw most of the letters in a file. Rather, it is to gather facts and legal arguments so that the commission can reach a well-founded decision.

However, what is clear is that the debate about the neutrality or not of the network has been contaminated by the irruption of bots, as the US electoral campaign was already contaminated, regardless of supposed propaganda of Russian origin. Although they do not directly affect the decisions to be made, they do so indirectly and are a symptom of manipulation.

One day after the decision, the situation is worse

Less than two weeks ago, when the Federal Communications Commission had decided to ignore most of the comments submitted by individuals to deal only with extensive legal arguments from interest groups and corporations, an analysisof the Pew Research Center was published .

This new research discovered that more than half of the comments, specifically 57%, came from temporary or false email addresses -including almost half a million Russian accounts- and that, again, only a small percentage were really authentic.

New research says that more than half of the comments provide temporary or false mail addresses

Already in July, it is worth remembering that more than a million comments were detected claiming to have a pornhub.com email address.

The problem, therefore, has continued. The evidence of a coordinated campaign of bots to manipulate the process is strong, corroborating that thousands of opinions were discharged at exactly the same time, and follows in the wake of what the principal investigator of Gravwell said about the same phenomenon:

Seeing a clear difference of opinion between the massively submitted comments and those that came through the FCC comment page, we are forced to conclude that either the nature of the submission method has some direct correlation with the political opinion, or Well someone is telling lies on the Internet.

Although these messages do not stop being thousands of opinions of anonymous citizens and, in this case, thousands of organized bots that do not link any decision, they can sustain the opinion of the people involved in the voting on the repeal of the norms that assure the network neutrality.

It is not known who is responsible for this wave of automatic comments contrary to the regulation, but that in the previous debate, according to BGR, most of the 450,000 comments to the FCC were favorable to an egalitarian Internet. As they say, “thanks to anonymous manipulation the entire comment system can be discredited this time”. With the discredit of the previous consultation thanks to what happened now, they say, the result “is almost perfect for Ajit Pai and the antineutrality lobby” .


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