NY Times Seeks Evidence Russian Hackers Are Fighting for Internet Freedom in the US

These protesters may be doing Russia's bidding, the NYT says! (© Yuri Gripas / Reuters)

The New York Times is seeking evidence of Russian interference during a debate on placing restrictions on the internet in the United States, following allegations that a public commenting system was invaded by hackers.

The entire premise of the commenting system at its  inception, supposedly, is to encourage civic engagement — to offer the public an easy and  convenient means to participate and voice their opinion on proposed legislative changes — or at least lead them to believe that they’re involved. There’s more than mere sneaking suspicion that the system is really just a placebo — purely for show and without actual substance.

Ironically, the comments that were highlighted as having allegedly originated from abroad overwhelmingly supported the continuation of unrestricted access and freedom of the internet for all, a concept known as “net neutrality“.

Here is the technical side of what’s going on: The New York Times is suing the FCC for information into whether its public commenting system was abused by hackers and bots. The Federal Communications Commission,secondntly headed by former Verizon lawyer and partisan shill Ajit Pai, has blatantly ignored a series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

During the open comment and debate period spanning several months throughout the second half of 2017, at which time the FCC solicited and accepted input from the general public over whether Title II net neutrality protections — which classified internet service providers (ISPs) as common carriers“, thereby prohibiting them from discriminating against different kinds of data traffic and mandating that all data must be treated equally and without prejudice — should be rolled back in order to allow private corporations and municipal bodies unfettered legal authorization to curtail and restrict access to the internet entirely at their own whims and biases, an unprecedented 23 million comments from the public came crashing through the servers like an avalanche. Pew Research Center found as many as 94% of the comments were submitted multiple times, amid “evidence of organized campaigns” usually posing under false or stolen identities or accounts.

The concept of net neutrality was introduced in the FCC during the tenure of President Barack Obama, establishing into law in 2015 that no individual, company, or governing body has the right to filter or restrict individuals from being able to freely access any type of data across the internet as they so desired, nor can they charge additional fees to access “premium” content over the web, or even throttle clients’ internet connection speeds to the point of unusable.

The purported reason the New York Times has gotten involved is because around half a million of the public submissions were allegedly tracked back to Russia, although there is no evidence that any of the comments were actually left by Russians. The NY Times claims in the lawsuit that it is seeking to “broaden the public’s understanding of the scope of Russian interference in the American democratic system.”

However, analysis from data firm Emprata (in a report funded by some of the biggest internet providers in the US) found almost as many comments came from Germany, which is not mentioned in the lawsuit. It also found that all but 25 emails of the 1.74 million that came from abroad, were against repealing the idea of net neutrality.

British comedian and TV host John Oliver on his popular American weekly late night show on HBO, Last Week Tonight, called on his audience to comment on the threat to internet access as well, which apparently resulted in a sharp skyrocketing 3,000% increase in public comment  submissions to the FCC. As Oliver is originally from the United Kingdom, would that also be considered to be evidence of “foreign interference”?

In simpler terms: As gigantic domestic corporate telecom/media conglomerates collude with unelected and unaccountable federal bureaucrats to impede and restrict public access to high speed internet in America, The New York Times is worried about Russia “interfering” in US democracy through such nefarious and pernicious Soviet-style skullduggery as advocating for free and unrestricted access to the internet for everyone.

* This article was automatically syndicated and expanded from RT America.

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