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AG Scheiderman: Fake Comments Corrupted FCC's Feedback On Net Neutrality

AG Scheiderman: Fake Comments Corrupted FCC's Feedback On Net Neutralityā€¯

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman took aim at the integrity of the FCC's rule-making proceeding to roll back many of its current net neutrality rules, pointing to evidence that numerous public comments filed come from stolen identities or are fake.

The FCC received nearly 23 million comments since last spring, when Pai first made it clear that he would review the FCC's framework for its net neutrality rules.

In a surprise twist, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced on Monday that FCC officials charged with investigating incidents of fraud have agreed to cooperate with a law enforcement investigation into potentially millions of fake comments submitted using the FCC's website this year. "This is akin to identity theft on a massive scale".

He added that at least one million more comments came from real people whose identities were stolen. Last week, Schneiderman set up a website that allows New Yorkers to report if their name and identifying info was misused to make a fraudulent net neutrality feedback comment appear legitimate. He has said that the FCC does not need to impose any tougher rules on ISPs to protect consumers, as the Federal Trade Commission will continue to do that.

On Cyber Monday alone over 200 companies signed a letter to the FCC in strong support of net neutrality regulations, claiming that major sales periods for businesses - like Black Friday - are only possible with a free and open internet.

Schneiderman accused the FCC of "stonewalling" on the investigation, although he said that the FCC inspector general had recently offered to help.

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For now, Schneiderman called the FCC's entire comment process "deeply corrupted", and asked federal investigators to look into the incident alongside his own probe.

The FCC is expected to vote on February 14 on Chairman Ajit Pai's plan to scrap the 2015 landmark net neutrality rules, moving to give broadband service providers sweeping power over what content consumers can access. That's unacceptable. The FCC needs to correct this course immediately. "This is unacceptable. The integrity of the public record matters".

Under Pai's proposal, the Obama-era rules would be reversed and ISPs would only have to disclose blocking or throttling.

"This is an attempt by people who want to keep the Obama Administration's heavy-handed internet regulations to delay the vote because they realize that their effort to defeat the plan to restore internet freedom has stalled", he said in a statement.

Separately Monday, more than two dozen Democratic senators also wrote to the FCC calling for the December 14 vote to be delayed until a review of the submissions take place.

Based on Schneiderman's investigation, residents of California, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas may have also had their personal information used to submit comments on net neutrality, Rosenworcel said.



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