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The Theater of Public Input

It looks like the public commentary pool purporting to support the roll back of net neutrality rules by the FCC is polluted with fakes. And there is a lot of backlash over it with some demanding that the FCC investigate.

While I am happy to burden the pro-roll-back forces with the hassle, and I totally get the impulse to get to the bottom of them, I don't necessarily concur.

Capture of web browser loaded with a blocked web page.

As a staunch supporter and defender of net neutrality, I recognize that the arguments given against re-litigating the FCC ruling at any level because many of the comments are fake, are unfortunately compelling.

Those arguments center around the low barrier nature of public commentary (the FCC basically argues that any pool of public commentary contains fake comments, no matter the topic), as well as the limited actual impact on any final ruling that includes comments as part of the process. Essentially the FCC argues, if there are fakes, who cares?, we should all expect them to be there.

Maybe we don't like to be reminded in this backward way that comment campaigns, particularly online, are basically irrelevant even when considered at their fullest capacity.

At the very best, a deeper investigation might not uncover some exotic plot to sway way of the specific issue that the public commentary centers on (in this case net neutrality) but rather to dilute the very potency of public input itself. How much better to ram-rod issues without anyone taking public commentary seriously, if from time to time, the fallibility of that commentary can be demonstrated.

I am not crying over the fake comments in this matter because the entire strategy of lambasting the FCC with hopes of 'fixing things' is wrong. We should be focusing every iota of energy on forcing actual legislation, concrete laws, to keep information flow out of exclusive corporate control. Not in temporarily changing the FCC policy of the day/year/presidential administration.

It is indeed a shame that so few understand that while glorifying the elimination of government regulation, we hand over control to corporate domination of our lives.

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