Last week e-mails obtained by Freedom of Information Attack revealed that Ajit Pai’s FCC completely made up two different DDOS attacks in an attempt to downplay public opposition to the agency’s net neutrality repeal. The fake DDOS attacks stemmed from periods when the FCC’s website failed both times HBO Comedian John Oliver discussed net neutrality on his popular show (here’s the first and second bits). Whereas the FCC website failed due to the volume of angry users trying to contact the FCC, the agency tried to claim these floods of outraged consumers were actually malicious attacks.
The problem is they provided no evidence for those claims, and the evidence that does exist strongly indicates they made the DDOS attacks up to try and downplay massive public opposition to their large-ISP friendly policies.
The FCC is already facing a GAO investigation into the DDOS attacks that weren’t. Smelling a little political blood in the water, Senators Brian Schatz and Ron Wyden are also now pressuring the FCC for more information on what occurred:
In a letter shared with Gizmodo, Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) tell the FCC that they would like to see evidence of either cyberattack beyond initial internal analyses, such as subsequent government or third-party security firm investigations. They also ask the FCC to clarify on what grounds they determined the comment system downtime on either date was best classified as a cyberattack, as well as ask Pai whether he is cooperating in full with the Government Accountability Office (GOA) investigation to determine exactly what happened.
The bogus DDOS attacks, as well as the FCC’s failure to do anything about the identity theft and bogus comments during the public comment period of the repeal, are likely to both be subjects of interest during the looming court battles over net neutrality. They’re also ongoing evidence that the Trump FCC is more than a little eager to try and stifle public, Democratic opposition to what by any measure are extremely unpopular, corporate-friendly policies.