Heavy traffic is not a DDoS

Ajit Pai claimed that when the FCC asked citizens to comment on Net Neutrality, their website was attacked with a distributed denial of service, or DDoS. I’ve heard many of his defenders claim that an overwhelming number of people trying to use the website to comment was in fact a DDoS. This is a lie.

It was not a kind of DDoS. Words mean things, and “DDoS” specifically means a coordinated attack. What the FCC experienced is what we call “heavy traffic”. A car analogy:

  • “Heavy traffic” is rush hour on the freeway.
  • “DDoS” is a mass protest with people physically blocking lanes on the road.

Even though the end result might be everything moving slower than desired, if you’re stuck in traffic but you tell your boss that you’re late to work because a protest blocked the street, you’re exactly as much a liar as Ajit Pai was when he perjured himself to Congress.