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October 21 2019

surveyork
16:54

Net Neutrality Fake Comments: How Political Operatives Duped Ajit Pai's FCC

Political Operatives Are Faking Voter Outrage With Millions Of Made-Up Comments To Benefit The Rich And Powerful

A fierce battle over the regulation of the internet was riddled with millions of fake comments in the most prolific known instance of political impersonation in US history.

Sarah Reeves sat on her couch in Eugene, Oregon, staring at her laptop screen in furious disbelief. She was reading the website of a government agency, where her mother appeared to have posted a comment weighing in on a bitter policy battle for control of the internet. Something was very wrong.

For a start, Annie Reeves, who loved to lead children’s sing-alongs at the Alaska Zoo, had never followed wonky policy debates. She barely knew her way around the web, let alone held strident views on how it should be regulated — and, according to her daughter, she definitely didn’t post angry comments on government websites.

But Sarah Reeves had a more conclusive reason to feel sure her mother’s name had been taken in vain: Annie Reeves was dead. She died more than a year before the comment was posted.

In the spring of 2017, a virtual war was raging over the future of the internet, much of it through comments on the website of the Federal Communications Commission — the government agency responsible for regulating the broadband industry. Reeves wasn’t the only ghost to get sucked in from beyond the grave to do battle on behalf of giant telecommunications companies such as AT&T and Comcast.

At issue was a rule from the Obama era known as “net neutrality.” It was designed to protect the open web by requiring internet providers to treat traffic from all sites equally — and under Trump, the FCC was planning to scrap it. Conservatives had long branded the regulation as an assault on free enterprise, but advocates warned that its repeal would allow the broadband giants to manipulate traffic in favor of the highest-paying platforms, crowding out competition and stifling free speech. The stakes were high, and the public comment period attracted a staggering 22 million submissions.

The problem was, many of the comments were fake.

The New York attorney general opened an investigation and has since issued subpoenas to more than a dozen entities — estimating that “as many as 9.6 million comments may have used stolen identities.” But the FCC went ahead and scrapped the net neutrality rule in a massive victory for the broadband industry and a huge blow, consumer advocates said, for users. Some suspicious comments have been tracked back to particular political operatives. But the question of how millions of identities were marshaled without consent has largely remained a mystery. Until now.

June 15 2015

surveyork
13:37

You probably know by now that no normal Americans are allowed to see the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. It’s classified. Even members of Congress can only read it by going to secure reading rooms in the basement of the Capitol.

But here’s what you might not know: you’re not even allowed to know who in Congress has bothered to do this.

June 04 2015

surveyork
12:20

June 01 2015

surveyork
17:36

▶ The Investigators: ALEC - The Backroom Where Laws Are Born - YouTube

This is a glimpse into the world of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-funded charity that pays for lawmaker trips to resorts where they leave with ready-to-pass bills. Neither ALEC nor the Georgia legislature would show us where the money comes from, or who it goes to.

March 13 2015

surveyork
15:01

A controversial trade deal being negotiated between the European Union and the United States risks an unacceptable “race to the bottom” on environmental standards, MPs have warned.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could weaken European and UK regulation in areas including genetically modified crops, chemicals in cosmetics and meat treated with growth hormones, as a result of efforts to align standards between the US, where rules are laxer, and the EU.

A report by the parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee also suggested it could make it harder to strengthen rules on issues such as animal welfare or climate change – particularly if the deal allows US companies to sue governments for bringing in new regulations that harm their business.

surveyork
14:58

France has blamed a communication "failure" after EurActiv revealed the existence of a letter instructing French MEPs how to vote on the controversial question of ISDS. Paris tried to rectify the error by sending another confidential letter to MEPs on 4 March. EurActiv France reports.

On 26 February, EurActiv France published the contents of a letter advising French MEPs on the official French position on the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS) in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement.

The letter, from the French Secretariat General for European Affairs (SGAE), was relaxed about the question of international arbitration tribunals, contrary to the harder line previously adopted by the government.

February 05 2015

surveyork
14:09
Play fullscreen
Robert Reich takes on the Trans-Pacific Partnership - YouTube

January 03 2015

surveyork
03:25

November 18 2014

surveyork
07:35
surveyork
07:35
surveyork
07:35
surveyork
07:35

September 20 2014

surveyork
09:04

September 08 2014

surveyork
19:19

July 30 2014

surveyork
07:12

July 16 2014

surveyork
15:29

July 15 2014

surveyork
10:53

June 06 2014

surveyork
15:27

May 02 2014

surveyork
07:21
surveyork
07:21
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