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John Oliver attempted to protect net neutrality for a second time on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, after having first spoken up about the subject three years ago.
Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers should not be able to manipulate or limit the content you consume online. Oliver explained that Trump’s new FCC chairman is threatening net neutrality.
“It seems like the Trump era will basically ‘control Z’ everything that happened on Obama’s watch,” said Oliver, adding that he would genuinely not be surprised if Trump went on television to announce he had “personally killed every turkey Obama ever pardoned.”
Oliver walked viewers through the threats to net neutrality under FCC chair Ajit Pai, who quotes The Big Lebowski and might appear non-threatening but used to work for Verizon, a company which has challenged net neutrality in the past. Oliver said Pai has supported leaving net neutrality in the hands of internet service providers, who can “voluntarily agree” in their terms of service to treat everyone equally.
“That would make net neutrality as binding as a proposal on The Bachelor,” said Oliver. He said it’s time for the people to again take matters into their own hands.
“Every internet group needs to come together like you successfully did three years ago,” said Oliver. “Every subculture must join as one. We need all of you.”
The Last Week Tonight host listed all of the people who use the internet often that can be helpful, including the powerful online trolls who criticize him when he insults Trump, Star Wars Day aficionados, Beyonce pregnancy announcement commenters, Grand Canyon Yelp reviewers and a reviewer who complained that there were no wolves in The Wolf of Wall Street.
“I’m calling on all of you, the internet time-wasters and troublemakers, to join me in just 5 to 10 minutes of minor effort,” said Oliver. “I need you to do this. Once more unto the breach, my friends.”
Oliver bought the website GoFCCYourself.com to help make the process easier, since this time around the FCC has made it very difficult to comment on net neutrality. Oliver’s website directly links users to a place where they can comment.
“Do not tell me that you don’t have time to do this,” Oliver said, “If the internet is evidence of nothing else it is evidence that we all have way too much time on our hands.”
On Monday, the FCC issued a statement about the “high amount of traffic” to its comment system.
“Beginning on Sunday night at midnight, our analysis reveals that the FCC was subject to multiple distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDos). These were deliberate attempts by external actors to bombard the FCC’s comment system with a high amount of traffic to our commercial cloud host,” the statement from FCC chief information officer Dr. David Bray said. “These actors were not attempting to file comments themselves; rather they made it difficult for legitimate commenters to access and file with the FCC. While the comment system remained up and running the entire time, these DDoS events tied up the servers and prevented them from responding to people attempting to submit comments. We have worked with our commercial partners to address this situation and will continue to monitor developments going forward.”
May 8, 12:24 pm This story has been updated with the FCC’s statement about the “high amount of traffic” to its comment system.
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