Switchboard: FCC extends net neutrality comment deadline after being overwhelmed by feedback


Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler . (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Published every weekday, the Switchboard is your morning helping of hand-picked stories from The Switch team.

The FCC is so swamped with net neutrality comments, it’s extending the deadline. Tuesday was supposed to be the last day to file initial comments on the Federal Communications Commission's controversial net neutrality plan. But the agency's online comment form was so overwhelmed with input (it received more than 780,000 comments as of Tuesday afternoon) that it is extending the deadline to Friday.

Silicon Valley is one step closer to being its own state. No, really. Billionaire tech investor Timothy Draper's plan to split California into six states is a little closer to becoming reality: According to a spokesperson for the Six California's campaign, it has gathered enough petition signatures to put the proposal on the 2016 ballot. Of course, the plan will still need to actually pass and receive congressional approval -- which critics say will be a very hard sell.

Chinese hackers extending reach to smaller U.S. agencies, officials say. "After years of cyberattacks on the networks of high-profile government agencies like the Pentagon, Chinese hackers appear to have turned their attention to far more obscure federal agencies," Michael Schmidt at the New York Times reports. "Law enforcement and cybersecurity analysts in March detected intrusions on the computer networks of the Government Printing Office and the Government Accountability Office, senior American officials said this week." 

Meet ‘Project Zero,’ Google’s secret team of bug-hunting hackers. Google now has a group of security researchers searching the web for zero day vulnerabilities, Andy Greenberg reports at Wired. Zero days are unknown bugs in computer applications already in use -- they're called that because that's how much time there is to patch the problem before bad guys can potentially exploit it.

You no longer have to use your real name on Google+. When Google's social network launched, it had a strict real names policy. But in a Google+ post Tuesday, the company announced it had officially removed restrictions on what names could be used on the service -- even apologizing for the original policy having led to "unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users."

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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Andrea Peterson | July 15