Associate Arts and Culture Editor
Lately it seems as though the Russians have infiltrated all manner of American government. Whether their interference is unreliable information, or if they are really influencing American politics is under investigation. The current question is, did the Russians interfere with Net Neutrality? The New York Times are suing the FCC to determine just that.
As many may remember, last fall the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a plan to repeal Net Neutrality. Chairman Ajit Pai proposed to do away with this principle that protects internet users from having their internet usage controlled by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), such as Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T. This plan to remove the public’s right to free and equal internet was met with a massive response. Internet users across the nation contacted their congresspeople to voice objections. It became a social movement to “save the net.”
Although millions of people support Net Neutrality, some are against it as well. In the wake of the vote to repeal Net Neutrality, it was discovered that over seven million comments on the matter were created by a fake email generator. Furthermore, millions of comments supporting chairman Pai’s proposal to repeal Net Neutrality were all filed under the same name. This suspicious activity gained the attention of the New York Times.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, The Times had on multiple occasions requested the FCC to disclose information on the matter, but they were met with uncooperation. The FCC has claimed releasing the records would jeopardize security of the individuals who posted, and FCC security as well. Each refusal and explanation by the FCC was met with adjustment by The Times. Eventually, the only data being requested were original IP addresses and timestamps, and user headers and timestamps. The FCC still refused to cooperate.
As a result, The Times is now suing the FCC to discover whether the Russians were involved with the Net Neutrality movement in any way. The FCC denies this, but the data they are withholding could give a clue to the truth.