The vote was the first stage in the process of repealing the legislation designed to force internet service providers to treat all data traffic as equal.
Americans now have until the middle of August to comment on the proposals.
Almost 2.8 million comments have been filed on the FCC’s plans since the consultation opened at the end of April.
Last week it was reported that hundreds of thousands of comments supporting the proposals had been posted by bots.
After the FCC vote on 18 May, chairman Ajit Pai told reporters there was “a tension between having an open process where it’s easy to comment and preventing questionable comments from being filed”, but that the regulator “erred on the side of openness”.
But Fight for the Future claims that many of the suspected spam comments have been posted using genuine details that have been stolen.
In their letter to the FCC, the group has called for an investigation into the fake comments, and for the regulator to notify all those whose details have been used to post them.
“Whoever is behind this stole our names and addresses, publicly exposed our private information without our permission, and used our identities to file a political statement we did not sign on to,” the letter reads.
“It cannot be the case that the FCC moves forward on such a major public debate without properly investigating this known attack.”
Fight for the Future says it has heard from “hundreds” of people who have found comments posted in their names, in favour of revoking net neutrality.
The group’s campaign director, Evan Greer, told Motherboard it would add more names to the letter as it verified their claims.
“This letter was something we put together quickly with people who were furious that their personal information had been used and wanted to do something immediately.”
The FCC has not yet responded to a BBC request for comment.
Earlier this month, the FCC said it had been targeted by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that led to downtime for the comments system.
This followed a television appearance by comedian John Oliver in which he urged people to post comments against the proposals on the FCC’s website.
Delays have been reported in Rome, Prague, Milan, Stockholm and Malaga due to the system failure.
Philip Bloom said he had been waiting on board a Heathrow-bound flight at Belfast for two hours.
He added: “We haven’t been told very much just that there is a worldwide computer system failure.
“We were told that we couldn’t even get on other flights because they are unable to see what flights we can be moved to.”
The BBC’s Phillip Norton is at Rome International airport, where he has been waiting to fly to London.
He said BA staff were unable to say how long delays would be, telling him “all flights are grounded around the world”.
Alma Saffari is in Marseille waiting to get her flight back to Heathrow.
She said: “When we finally boarded the captain came out and told us their computer systems were down worldwide.
“Eventually after sitting on the tarmac for 1 and a half hours we disembarked the plane.
“Now we are sitting in the departure area outside the gate.”
Ms Saffari, who is with her 13-month-old baby, said she had been given a voucher for food and drink.
EU flight delay rights
If your flight departed the European Union or was with a European airline, you might have rights under EU law to claim if the delay or cancellation was within the airline’s control
Short-haul flights: 250 euros for delays of more than three hours
Medium-haul flights: 400 euros for delays of more than three hours
Long-haul flights: 300 euros for delays of between three and four hours; and 600 euros for delays of more than four hours
If your flight’s delayed for two or more hours the airline must offer food and drink, access to phone calls and emails, and accommodation if you’re delayed overnight – including transfers between the airport and the hotel
Have you been affected by the BA computer problems? Please get in touch and email us email@example.com
Clever computers that learn on the job could recast Britain’s job market – for better or worse. What are the parties vying for power in the general election saying on the subject?
Twenty-nine-year-old Lee Hayhow is the third generation of his family to work as a lorry driver, following his father and grandfather.
He is proud of his job.
“I’ve always enjoyed lorries and driving. I trained as a professional driver. It is a profession.
“You’re almost your own boss – in charge of that vehicle. I always do it to the best of my ability. It’s a good feeling.”
He estimates it costs £3,000 to train as a heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) driver. Mr Hayhow’s employer, O’Donovan Waste Disposal, paid for this, but not all firms do, he says.
And he would be delighted to see the next generation of Hayhows – his two young daughters – follow his career path.
But by then, the decision may not be theirs to take.
Call centres to catering
Lorry driving, like many other jobs that help power the British economy, could be facing a huge shake-up.
Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) – a field of computer science in which machines are taught to carry out tasks that require human traits of thought or intelligence – have led some to predict a knock-on catastrophe for jobs.
Nowhere is the exponential growth of AI more apparent than in the race towards self-driving vehicles.
But AI doesn’t stop at transport. There have been stark warnings about its impact on the jobs market as computer programs are honed to perform a number of roles, including call centre work, banking and paralegal responsibilities, retail and catering tasks, and journalism.
Up to 46% of jobs in Scotland could be at risk within the next decade, the Institute for Public Policy Research Scotland recently claimed. Accountancy firm PwC predicted 30% of existing jobs in the UK could be “at high risk of automation” by the 2030s.
Calum Chace, author of Surviving AI and the Economic Singularity, foresees “quite a lot” of unemployment caused by the takeover of technology “in a decade and a lot in two decades”.
“The industrial revolution was mechanisation and humans had something else to offer – cognitive skills. This time around machines are coming for our cognitive jobs,” said Mr Chace.
Others, though, predict a huge economic dividend. Consultants Accenture estimated AI could add about of £654bn to the UK economy by 2035.
One influential voice talks of old jobs making way for new ones. But these new occupations cannot be taken for granted.
“The absolute nightmare for me would be that we’re applying this technology, we’re displacing jobs as a result of it – which will happen – but what we’re not doing at the same time is creating all the jobs in computer science, in data analytics, in software code writing,” said Mr Maier in an interview with the Guardian.
All of which leaves Britain’s next government with a quandary – continue to invest heavily to support Britain’s fledgling AI industries, in the belief they will foster greater efficiency and productivity, and new jobs, or safeguard the rights of existing workers?
Thanks to the general election manifestos of those vying to take power on 8 June, it’s possible to get an idea of how primed our politicians are for the AI future.
In its 2017 manifesto the Conservative Party asserts Britain is “leading the world in preparing for autonomous vehicles,” although in reality others are further ahead.
The Lib Dems note the “advent of robotics and increasing artificial intelligence will also change the nature of work for many people”. They say the government “needs to act now to ensure this technological march can benefit everyone and that no areas are left in technology’s wake”.
Its solution is to provide more support for digital skills training and businesses/tech hubs in the sector.
Industry in denial
The Conservatives also commit to establishing “institutes of technology” and pledge to a long-term goal of investing 3% of the UK’s GDP in research and development.
Labour’s Tom Watson, Shadow Secretary of State for Culture and Media, told the BBC there is “no doubt” automation and AI will “change most people’s jobs”.
In response, he has set up an independent Future of Work Commission which is due to report in the autumn.
“We want to understand the implications of new technology on work and make achievable recommendations about the most pressing challenges and opportunities of the future,” he said.
UKIP’s manifesto doesn’t mention AI or automation, although it has pledged to scrap tuition fees for degrees in technology, engineering and mathematics. The SNP’s manifesto had not been published at time of writing and it did not respond to a request for comment.
However there is considerable denial about the AI revolution among some of the workers potentially on the frontline – not least the lorry drivers.
Despite the apparent success of the European Truck Platooning Challenge in March last year, in which convoys of automated lorries (with humans on board just in case) drove from Sweden, Germany and Belgium to Rotterdam in Holland, the Road Haulage Association said its members were “deeply sceptical” about whether driverless lorries would arrive on the roads in the next 10 years.
Despite this, Jack Semple, director of policy, admitted “if it works, particularly in HGVs, there is huge potential for savings.
“You eliminate not only driver costs but also the restrictions on vehicle movement that come from drivers’ hours regulations.”
Lee Hayhow isn’t concerned.
“It’s too intricate, the job that we do,” he said.
Calum Chace fears that people who share Mr Hayhow’s views are in for a shock.
“When they start seeing cars driving around with no one driving them, people will realise how impressive computers are,” he said.
Mrs May is expected to focus on online extremism when she chairs a counter-terrorism session at the summit in Italy.
Speaking to reporters outside Downing Street, she said she would lead a discussion on how to “work together to prevent the plotting of terrorist attacks online and to stop the spread of hateful extremist ideology on social media”.
Reality Check: What laws stop terror suspects travelling?
Mrs May added that co-operation from G7 and Nato would “enable us to work more closely together as we work to defeat the evil of terrorism”.
As Islamic State militants lose ground, the threat is “evolving rather than disappearing”, she will say, adding that the industry has a “social responsibility” to do more to take down harmful content.
She will acknowledge the industry has been taking action to remove extremist content, but will say it has not gone far enough and needs to do more.
And she will call for an international forum to develop the means of intervening where danger is detected, and for companies to develop tools which automatically identify and remove harmful material based on what it contains and who posted it.
French President Emmanuel Macron vowed France’s total support for Britain’s fight against terrorism as he met Mrs May at the summit.
“We will be here to cooperate and do everything we can in order to increase this cooperation at the European level, in order to do more from a bilateral point of view against terrorism,” he told her, in their first formal meeting since he took office.
Security minister Ben Wallace told the Today programme the use of online communications was “one of the biggest challenges” in the fight against terrorism, with encryption making it “almost impossible for us to actually lift the lid on these people”.
“And the scale of it is not just the UK, it is across the whole of Europe, across the world.”
He said the giant American tech companies like Facebook and Google could be doing more.
“We are determined to not let these people off the hook with the responsibility they have in broadcasting some horrendous [material], not only manuals about how to make bombs, but also grooming materials,” he said.
“We all think they could all do more… we need to have the tools to make them, where we need to, remove material quicker.”
Google said it was committed to creating an international forum designed to tackle extreme content online, to make sure “terrorists do not have a voice online”.
“We employ thousands of people and invest hundreds of millions of pounds to fight abuse on our platforms, and will continue investing and adapting to ensure we are part of the solution to addressing these challenges,” it added.
Meanwhile, Labour have attacked the government on police numbers, the prison service and foreign policy.
Mr Corbyn promised a “change at home and change abroad” if Labour wins power.
He says the UK “cannot be protected and cared for on the cheap” , and that “the war on terror is not working, we need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism”.
Most fitness trackers are good at measuring heart rate but poor at measuring calories burned, a study suggests.
As a result, people should be cautious about using them to judge what to eat, Stanford University scientists said.
The study recommended that companies release data showing how their devices work out measurements.
The accuracy of seven wrist devices were tested while 60 volunteers were asked to walk, run and cycle.
Researchers found that six out of seven of the fitness devices were good at estimating the heart rate of the person wearing it, with an error rate under 5%.
They were the Apple Watch, Fitbit Surge, Basis Peak, Microsoft Band, PulseOn and MIP Alpha 2 – but the Samsung Gear S2 had the highest error rate of 6.8%.
However, when it came to keeping track of energy used during exercise, the five devices that performed this function were all a long way out.
Not one of the devices had an error rate below 20% – and some, such as the PulseOn, were much more inaccurate, the US research team found.
Dr Euan Ashley, co-author of the study from the department of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford University, said the public should be aware of the strengths and limitations of fitness devices worn on the wrist.
“People need to know that on energy expenditure they give rough estimates.
“If you go to the gym, and you think you’ve lost 400 calories, then you might feel you’ve got 400 calories to play with,” he said.
That could be an issue if people were basing their diet on what they thought they had burnt off, he said.
Technology for measuring heart rate had moved on quickly over the past five or six years, but on energy expenditure “it’s not quite there yet”, he added.
It may be that companies are not using heart rates in their calculations. There is also a very wide difference in calories burnt between one person and another.
For example, 10,000 steps could equate to anything from 400 kilocalories to 800 kilocalories lost, depending on a person’s height and weight alone, the study said.
Dr David Ellis, lecturer in computation social science at Lancaster University, said working out the number of calories burnt was a tricky business and relied on many different factors such as height, weight, percentage of body fat, heart rate and more.
“However, because manufactures do not share the algorithms [which are constantly updated] used to determine calories burned, it is almost impossible to know the exact source of error at this stage,” he said.
Fitness trackers can have a very positive effect on people’s activity levels, so complete 100% accuracy may not be vital if the devices are encouraging more exercise.
The UK must keep its doors open to top talent from around the world if its technology firms are to thrive, Apple’s chief designer has told the BBC.
Sir Jonathan Ive, who has just been appointed Chancellor of the Royal College of Art, also said that technology hubs like Silicon Valley had a “tremendous cultural diversity”.
The iPhone designer did not comment on efforts to curb UK immigration.
Some technology firms fear they may lose access to talent after Brexit.
“That general principle [on access] is terribly important for creating a context for multiple companies to grow and in a healthy way explore and develop new products and new product types,” Sir Jonathan told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme.
The Briton has led Apple’s design team since 1996 and is responsible for the look and feel of its devices such as the iPhone and iPod.
Sir Jonathan said the UK had a “fabulous tradition of design education”, but that it needed to do more to become a technology hub on a par with Silicon Valley in California, where the likes of Apple, Facebook and Google are based.
“I think Silicon Valley has infrastructures to support start-up companies … ranging from technological support through to funding,” he said.
“And there is the sense that failure isn’t irreversible, so very often people will work on an idea, and there isn’t the same sense of stigma when one idea and perhaps one company doesn’t work out.”
The region also prided itself on its diversity, allowing “like-minded” people from around the world to join forces to create new products.
“I think at Apple we’ve been very clear on how important it is that we have a diverse pool of talent that we can hire from,” Sir Jonathan said.
Some UK technology firms have warned that they could lose access to the international talent they need after Britain leaves the European Union.
Google’s DeepMind AlphaGo artificial intelligence has defeated the world’s number one Go player Ke Jie.
AlphaGo secured the victory after winning the second game in a three-part match.
DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis said Ke Jie had played “perfectly” and “pushed AlphaGo right to the limit”.
Following the defeat, Ke Jie told reporters: “I’m a little bit sad, it’s a bit of a regret because I think I played pretty well.”
In Go, players take turns placing stones on a 19-by-19 grid, competing to take control of the most territory.
It is considered to be one of the world’s most complex games, and is much more challenging for computers than chess.
AlphaGo has built up its expertise by studying older matches and playing thousands of games against itself.
The company says the eventual plan is to deploy its artificial intelligence “in areas of medicine and science”.
Prof Noel Sharkey, a computer scientist at Sheffield University, said it is still a long way from creating a general intelligence.
“It is an incredible achievement and most experts thought an AI winning at Go was 20 years away so DeepMind is leading the field but this AI doesn’t have general intelligence. It doesn’t know that is playing a game and it can’t make you a cup of tea afterwards.”
Prof Nello Cristianini, from Bristol University, added: “This is machine learning in action and it proves that machines are very capable but it is not general intelligence. No-one has built that yet.”
The types of intelligence exhibited by machines that are good at playing games are seen as very narrow. While they may produce algorithms that are useful in other fields, few think they are close to the all-purpose problem solving abilities of humans that can come up with good solutions to almost any problem they encounter.
Prof Cristianini added that while competition at a gaming level is fine, it should not govern how we view our relationship with intelligent machines going forward.
“We should focus on the good things that we can get out of them and be careful not to create situations in which we put ourselves in direct competition with machines.”
Both experts agreed that such algorithms could be adapted to other fields, such as health care.
DeepMind has already begun working with the UK’s national health service to develop apps and other tools for diagnosis.
Google DeepMind’s AI system, AlphaGo, has won the first of three matches it is playing against the world’s number one Go player, Ke Jie.
It follows its historic win against Lee Se-dol last year, described by experts as a breakthrough moment for AI.
The AI won by just half a point in its latest match.
Ke Jie described the AI as “like a god of Go players”, while DeepMind co-founder Demis Hassabis thanked him for a hard-fought match.
“It was a such close game, an exciting game and showed how much work Ke Jie put into preparing for the match,” said Mr Hassabis in a post-match press conference.
“It was interesting for us to see him using moves from AlphaGo’s previous games, and we were intrigued to see how AlphaGo deals with its own strategies used – huge respect to Ke Jie for pushing AlphaGo to its limits.”
He added that the ultimate plan for AlphaGo was a wider deployment “in areas of medicine and science”.