Minutes After John Oliver Rant on FCC, a 'Cyberattack'

Net neutrality defenders are suspicious
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Suggested by WarmWeatherGuy
Posted May 9, 2017 2:03 AM CDT
Updated May 9, 2017 7:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – Not for the first time, John Oliver used his show Sunday as a platform to attack the FCC over net neutrality—specifically FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's plan to scale back net neutrality rules—and encouraged viewers to go to the FCC's website to comment on the issue. Many, however, didn't get the chance. At midnight, just as Last Week Tonight ended, the FCC's website crashed. According to the FCC, it wasn't high traffic from Oliver's viewers that was the issue. Instead, the website was hit with "multiple distributed denial-of-service attacks" that kept people from accessing the comment system for close to nine hours, the FCC says, per CNET.

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But the timing of the attack has some a little suspicious. Fight for the Future, a group that defends net neutrality, suggests the attack might have been a direct attempt to keep Oliver's viewers from speaking out against Pai's plan, especially given the impact of an episode of Last Week Tonight that Oliver dedicated to defending net neutrality in 2014, reports the Washington Post. Everyone should be able to comment on net neutrality and "anything less is a subversion of our democracy," says a group rep. "The FCC should immediately release its logs … to verify exactly what happened." Variety reports there have been 100,000 comments on net neutrality since Sunday. (Read more FCC stories.)

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