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Comcast tries to shut down pro-net neutrality site

Fight for the Future received a cease-and-desist notice for the "confusingly similar" Comcastroturf.com.
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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Internet advocacy group, Fight for the Future, says Comcast sent it a cease-and-desist order demanding the group take down Comcastroturf.com on the grounds that it violates the company's "valuable intellectual property." The site appeals for help identifying what it claims are fraudulent comments posted on the FCC's own site, supporting FCC chairman Ajit Pai's plans to rollback net neutrality rules. Many comments have already been flagged as spam, or posted under people's names without their permission. (It's not the first time something like this has happened.)

Evan Greer, Fight for the Future's campaign director, said that the cease-and-desist order is indicative of why net neutrality is needed: "If Ajit Pai's plan is enacted, there would be nothing preventing Comcast from simply blocking sites like Comcastroturf.com that are critical of their corporate policies."

Fight for the Future is protesting the FCC's moves to overturn the reclassification of broadband internet. The change, back in 2015, formed the rules for protecting net neutrality; that ISPs should treat all data served to customers at equal speeds and uncensored -- rules that were sometimes dodged.

Comcast told the Daily Dot that it "supports strong, legally enforceable net neutrality rules and does not and will not block websites or content." The cable and internet company says it's an outside vendor that's responsible for monitoring websites that uses its brands without authorization. This vendor then routinely sends out notices to suspicious sites. The statement added that the site in question raised other legal issues, as it asked for user details and that the site didn't have a privacy policy.

The cease-and-desist order itself is innocuously worded, stating that Comcastroturf's name is "confusingly similar" to Comcast. (There are more confusing similarities in tech.) The notice added that the company wants the site turned over to it, or it will proceed with legal action. Comcast said that it doesn't currently plan to proceed with legal action.

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