In a new letter addressed to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and Hawaii’s Brian Schatz asked the commission to confirm that it won’t be caught flat-footed during Wednesday’s net neutrality Day of Action.
The two pro-net neutrality Senate Democrats cited an incident in May during which the FCC’s comment portal crashed due to what Pai described as a “non-traditional DDoS attack.” The Senators were rightfully suspicious about the supposed DDoS claim as it would have coincided with a call to action by TV host John Oliver, who urged viewers to leave comments expressing their displeasure at the FCC’s policies.
The fact that the system went down indicates that the FCC comment system, known as the Electronic Communication Filing System or ECFS, isn’t built to withstand the kind of mass feedback that comment systems generally exist to receive. It also echoes other ways that politicians aligned with the Trump administration are shrinking away from negative feedback from their constituents.
“The FCC must be able to accept all comments filed to ensure that all voices are heard,” the Senators wrote. “We urge you to undertake temporary measures to ensure a functioning system on and around the anticipated surge of legitimate comments.”