go fcc yourself

A US regulator's website crashed after John Oliver posted a video about it

John Oliver’s show Last Week Tonight goes on air after a week of controversy – good controversy, though.

LastWeekTonight / YouTube

THE US AGENCY regulating internet policy said that its website was attacked this week after TV host John Oliver urged viewers to pressure the authority over plans to roll back on net neutrality.

The Federal Communications Commission, whose chairman last month promised to review a 2015 rule that requires broadband firms to treat all online traffic equally, said it was hit by a denial of service attack, which is a flood of traffic aimed at taking down a website.

“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 FCC said in a statement.

“These actors were not attempting to file comments themselves; rather they made it difficult for legitimate commenters to access and file with the FCC.”

But there are doubts as to whether it was a cyber attack that temporarily prevented the public from commenting.

Democratic senators have demanded answers from the Federal Communications Commission about its reaction to the cyber attack.

Last Week Tonight

TIME 100 Gala, TIME's 100 Most Influential People In The World, New York DPA / PA Images DPA / PA Images / PA Images

The action came after John Oliver, who hosts the widely watched satirical news programme Last Week Tonight, rebuked the FCC for its action and called on viewers to make their sentiments known to the regulator.

Oliver mocked FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s claim that voluntary measures would keep broadband firms from blocking out rivals as a pledge “as binding as a proposal on ‘The Bachelor.’”

The show even created a web link ( to make it easier for viewers to offer their comments, and also suggested in a tweet that they “urge the FCC to keep strong net neutrality rules.”

It’s the second time Oliver has used his platform to go after the FCC.

In 2014, at the height of the debate over the net neutrality rules, Oliver criticised cable companies like Verizon and Cox Communications, which he argued were using lobbying dollars to influence the debate against the public’s best interest.

He urged users to file their comments on the rules to the FCC during the 120-day open comment period.

The FCC did not respond to an AFP request for comment on whether Oliver’s comments had anything to do with the attacks.

Pai, appointed by President Donald Trump, said in April he will propose a reversal of the 2015 order and seek to return to “a light-touch regulatory framework,” which he argued has “enabled the internet to grow and evolve beyond almost anyone’s expectations.”

Net neutrality has been the subject of legal and political battles for over a decade, with both sides claiming to represent a “free and open” internet.

© AFP 2017

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