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FCC Gives Data Geeks New, Exciting Way to Show Public's Hatred of Net Neutrality Plan

The agency has released 1.1 million comments in machine-readable form.

The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday released 1.4 gigabytes of comments received about Chairman Tom Wheeler’s controversial net neutrality proposal in machine-readable form so data crunchers can show us all in greater detail how many people oppose the plan.

Thus far, the agency has received 1.1 million comments about the proposal rules, which would allow Internet providers to sell prioritized, fast-lane service to content companies. (The record for most comments received by the FCC remains the Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” of 2004, which logged 1.4 million complaints.) By Re/code’s non-scientific review of selected comments filed, approximately 99.9 percent of those comments appear to be some variation of “Tom Wheeler sucks.”

“The release of the comments as Open Data in this machine-readable format will allow researchers, journalists and others to analyze and create visualizations of the data so that the public and the FCC can discuss and learn from the comments we’ve received,” the agency said in a blog post.

One note on the data: If you sent a handwritten note via the U.S. Postal Service — and apparently some people did — those comments may not be searchable, FCC officials warned. “Mailed comments postmarked prior to July 18 are still being scanned and entered into the [electronic comment system] and may not be reflected in the files.”

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