Today, members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to Ajit Pai demanding answers about the phony “cyber attack” the FCC repeatedly used to downplay the overwhelming opposition to the agency’s repeal of net neutrality.
Fight for the Future, the digital rights group that first challenged the FCC’s dubious claims of a DDoS attack, issued the following statement, which can be attributed to Deputy Director Evan Greer:
“Ajit Pai is an embarrassment. We knew he was lying about his reasons for killing net neutrality, but now we know his agency also lied to Congress, journalists, and the public about something as serious as a cyber attack. He may well be the Republican party’s biggest liability in the midterm elections. Lawmakers are rightly demanding answers. But they should also act immediately to overrule Ajit Pai’s corrupt gutting of net neutrality, by signing the discharge petition and passing the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to reverse the repeal.”
Fight for the Future has repeatedly debunked the FCC’s dubious claims that their public comment site was hit with two separate DDoS attacks that allegedly occurred at the exact same time that large numbers of pro net neutrality comments were flooding the system following John Oliver’s viral TV segments on the issue. Last week, the agency finally admitted that those DDoS attacks were completely fabricated. The internal Investigator General’s report provides even more detail, showing that FCC leadership, including Ajit Pai, knew that the DDoS attack was bogus, and that the FBI had changed their focus from looking into an alleged cyber attack to investigating false statements made to Congress by the FCC.
Fight for the Future provided the FCC with proof debunking this invented cyber attack more than a year ago, including screenshots of our own logs and other technical information. Thousands of people signed petitions calling on the FCC to provide proof of the attack. The agency ignored us, and decided instead to lie to Congress and the public. They never reported the alleged “cyber attack” to US CERT, the proper authorities, because they knew one had not occurred. They mischaracterized to Congress conversations that did eventually occur with the FBI.
Ajit Pai is scheduled to appear before a Senate committee to answer questions about the incident this Thursday.
Thousands of small businesses from all 50 states are calling on lawmakers to sign discharge petition as part of online day of action this week
WHAT: Signers of the BusinessesForNetNeutrality.com open letter will hold a telepresser showcasing business owners from key districts across the country who will sound the alarm about the devastating impacts the FCC’s net neutrality repeal will have on Main Street, and why Congress must act to restore strong protections. The telepresser comes as part of a ‘Businesses for Net Neutrality Day of Action’ where over 7000 companies will come together to raise small business voices in the fight to restore net neutrality.
WHO: Small Business Owners in Districts of Key GOP House Representatives:
* John Minor, Policy Manager at the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC). * Jennie Stewart, Founder of CustomMousePads.com in Anchorage, AK. (Rep Young, AK-0) * Bret Pritchett, Owner of GAVX Inc. in Chicago, IL. (Rep Roskam, IL-6) * Raul Martynek, CEO of MAAS Telecom Corp in Gardner, NY. (Rep Faso, NY-19) * Matt Friedman, owner of SMB Logic in Kansas City, KS. (Rep. Yoder, KS-3) * Kate Brodock, CEO of Women 2.0 in Syracuse, NY. (Rep Katko, NY-24).
BACKGROUND: Since the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) voted to repeal net neutrality in December of 2017, over 7,000 businesses across the country have been pressuring Congress to pass the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to reverse the FCC’s repeal by signing an open letter hosted at BusinessesForNetNeutrality.com.
If passed, the CRA would restore strong net neutrality rules to prevent Internet service providers from blocking and throttling sites and apps, or charging companies new fees to reach customers online. Without net neutrality protections, Internet service providers can charge small businesses exorbitant new fees for privileged “fast lane” access to customers online. This amounts to a new tax on businesses across the country, and would significantly undermine the Internet as a level playing field for commerce.
In May the Senate passed the CRA in a historic bipartisan vote of 52-47, including support from GOP Senators Murkowski (AK), Collins (ME) and Kennedy (LA). Its companion in the House currently has 177 signers including GOP Rep Mike Coffman (CO-6). The CRA is the only measure that can restore meaningful net neutrality rules during this Congress. A new poll conducted by IMGE Insights shows that net neutrality will influence a majority of voters in the upcoming election cycle.
On Wednesday, Sen. Scott Wiener unveiled the newest version of SB 822, the strongest state-level net neutrality bill in the country. Once gutted beyond recognition, SB 822 was brought back to life in early July after massive public pressure from the diverse coalition supporting restoring these protections to Californians. The bill now goes back to the Assembly’s Communications and Conveyance committee which needs to approve it before a vote in the Assembly in mid-August.
The new version contains all of the core protections of the 2015 Open Internet Order. Once passed, it will set the standard for legislatures across the country. SB 822 ensures that giant telecoms that want to control how we use the internet can’t do so by closing known loopholes and preventing unfair fees. But ISPs like AT&T and Comcast have been pouring millions of dollars into defeating SB 822, deploying a battalion of lobbyists, paid-off front groups and fake economic studies. The outcome of this battle for an open internet is far from clear.
To hold Assemblymembers accountable, Fight for the Future is unveiling a public scorecard that lists each of the 80 Assemblymembers position on SB 822, along with their phone numbers and Twitter handles. Californians can visit the scoreboard to see where their representative stands on the issue and can contact them directly from the scoreboard.
Lawmakers who have not joined as co-authors or publicly committed to voting for SB 822, in full, are marked as being against net neutrality.
When Assemblymember Miguel Santiago gutted the bill in June, FFTF crowdfunded more than $15,000 to put up billboard in his district. Asm. Santiago quickly realized his error and is now a co-author of the bill, which we thank him for. However, we pledged to those who donated that we would use that money to put billboards in other districts of lawmakers who stand in the way of SB 822. We will target billboards on those who vote no, hope to abstain from voting or who do not commit to protecting our online rights – including those lawmakers who think their seats are so safe they can afford to appease AT&T and Comcast.
California legislators who are contemplating double-crossing their constituents on net neutrality should consider whether they really want to be known forever online as California’s Ajit Pai.
Fight for the Future issued the following statement, which can be attributed to Deputy Director Evan Greer (pronouns: she/her):
“In July, we applauded Assemblymember Miguel Santiago for changing his mind on SB 822. But the massive online outcry that led to his conversion should be a warning to the rest of the Assembly: don’t mess with net neutrality unless you’re prepared to feel your constituents’ wrath. California assemblymembers won’t get a second chance and they need to decide immediately to either side with the public or be willing to pay the price for catering to big telecoms.
SB 822 will prevent Internet providers like AT&T and Comcast from turning the internet into a playground they control and using their monopoly power to interfere with what apps, services, websites and devices we choose to use. The protections against discriminatory zero rating schemes are especially essential for low-income Californians, who are disproportionately affected by low data caps, and who would be forced to experienced a second-class Internet where their ISP chooses what they are most likely to see, how they stream video, and where they get their news.
Strong net neutrality protections are essential for a functional democracy. The open Internet is one of the most important tools we have for challenging injustice and tyranny. The stakes are high and what happens in California will have an impact on Internet users everywhere. We will make sure that SB 822 passes the Assembly with all key protections intact, and that those who stand in the way or try to stand on the sideline pay for that decision.”
New billboards in Nebraska slam Rep Jeff Fortenberry for putting ISPs ahead of constituents, while Colorado ads thank Rep Mike Coffman for defending net neutrality.
Today digital rights group Fight for the Future unleashed four new crowdfunded billboards across Nebraska targeting Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) for attempting to fool constituents by cosponsoring symbolic net neutrality legislation, which has no chance of passing this Congress, but refusing to sign on to the CRA resolution, which has already passed the Senate, and is the viable way for lawmakers to restore protections this year. The billboard notes that Fortenberry has taken nearly $100,000 in campaign contributions from telecom companies.
The group also unveiled a new billboard in Denver, CO thanking Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) for showing political courage by becoming the first GOP member of the House to sign on to the discharge petition for the CRA. The billboard highlights an open letter signed by hundreds of Colorado small businesses, and thousands of businesses nationwide, calling on Congress to pass the CRA to restore net neutrality protections as quickly as possible.
The five billboards come as members in the House of Representatives return to their home districts for the August congressional recess.
The CRA is the only measure that can restore meaningful net neutrality rules during this Congress. It recently passed the Senate in a historic bipartisan vote of 52-47, including support from GOP Senators Murkowski (AK), Collins (ME) and Kennedy (LA). It’s companion in the House currently has 177 signers including Rep Coffman.
Anew pollconducted by IMGE Insights shows that net neutrality will influence a majority of voters in the upcoming election cycle. Fight for the Future has promised to crowdfund billboards targeting lawmakers who sponsor alternative net neutrality legislation without also signing the CRA to restore strong protections as soon as possible.
“Congress needs to know that they can’t hide from this issue, or attempt to fool their constituents by supporting symbolic net neutrality legislation without also signing on to the CRA, which is the only viable way to restore these crucial protections this year,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future (pronouns: she/hers), “Small businesses and Internet users can’t afford to be left without protections from power-hungry ISPs while a tech illiterate Congress debates this issue and turns it into a partisan football match. This is not complicated: any lawmaker who doesn’t support the CRA is helping kill net neutrality, and we’re going to make sure their constituents know they were sold out in exchange for campaign checks from Big Cable.”
Below are the locations of each billboard:
* Denver, CO: 2251 South Parker Rd, 200’ north of Iliff Ave on the west side facing south.
* Lincoln, NE: On North 27th avenue just north of Fairfield Street
* Lincoln, NE: On North 70th street just north of I-34.
* Lincoln, NE: 4738 Normal Blvd west of South 48th Street
* Lincoln, NE: Intersection of Old Cheney Rd and South 56th Street
The billboards targeting Congressman Fortenberry read:
“REP FORTENBERRY BETRAYED NEBRASKA. He took $99,850 from telecom companies and refused to sign the CRA to restore strong net neutrality protections. Ask him why: 402-438-1598.”
Source for campaign contribution figures: The Verge.
The billboard thanking Congressman Coffman reads:
“THANK YOU REP COFFMAN FOR DEFENDING NET NEUTRALITY
Congressman Mike Coffman stood up to Big Cable and fought for Colorado businesses and Internet freedom by signing the CRA. BusinessesForNetNeutrality.com”
Congress must pass CRA to reverse illegitimate repeal
Fight for the Future has repeatedly debunkedthe FCC’s dubious claims that their public comment site was hit with two separate DDoS attacks that allegedly occurred at the exact same time that large numbers of pro net neutrality comments were flooding the system following John Oliver’s viral TV segments on the issue. Yesterday, the agency finally admittedthat those DDoS attacks were completely fabricated. Today, the internal Investigator General’s report provides even more detail, showing that FCC leadership, including Ajit Pai, knew that the DDoS attack was bogus, and that the FBI had changed their focus from looking into an alleged cyber attack to investigating false statements made to Congress by the FCC.
Fight for the Future issued the following statement, which can be attributed to deputy director Evan Greer (pronouns: she/her):
“Ajit Pai should resign. These new revelations from the FCC’s internal investigation are a smoking gun. They clearly show that the FCC chairman knew months ago that there had never been a cyber attack on the FCC’s comment system, but did nothing, allowing the false narrative to spread in a cynical attempt to downplay the overwhelming opposition to his attack on net neutrality.
Fight for the Future providedthe FCC with proof debunking this invented cyber attack more than a year ago, including screenshots of our own logs and other technical information. Thousands of people signed petitions calling on the FCC to provide proof of the attack. The agency ignored us, and decided instead to lie to Congress and the public. They never reported the alleged “cyber attack” to US CERT, the proper authorities,, because they knew one had not occurred. They mischaracterized to Congress conversations that did eventually occur with the FBI.
Under Ajit Pai’s leadership, the FCC sabotaged its own public comment process. From ignoring millions of fraudulent comments using stolen names and addresses to outright lies about DDoS attacks that never happened, the agency recklessly abdicated its responsibility to maintain a functional way for the public to be heard. Pai attempts to blame his staff, but this happened on his watch, and he repeatedly obstructed attempts by lawmakers and the press to get answers.
The repeal of net neutrality was not only unpopular, it was illegitimate. We now know the truth: a DDoS attack didn’t take down the FCC’s website. Millions of people speaking out against Ajit Pai’s repeal of net neutrality did. Congress must act now to pass the CRA resolution to reverse this decision and restore basic protections for Internet freedom.”