NY AG continues to investigate 'fake' comments on net neutrality

NY AG continues to investigate 'fake' comments on net neutrality

The basis for this request comes from mounting evidence that a portion of the FCC's 22 million public comments regarding Title II regulations may have been fake.

On Monday, Schneiderman estimated that, in addition to swarms of computer-generated names, as many as 1 million comments were submitted using real people's identities without their knowledge.

Simply put, rolling back net neutrality protections is a hugely unpopular policy decision that will place consumers at the unregulated mercy of a few giant telecom companies.

Although Schneiderman said he has received more than 3,200 complaints, including 350 in NY, from those who say comments were made in their or a relative's name without their consent, the FCC is refusing to provide any records or data to help with the investigation.

"The FCC needs to help with state investigations".

"There's no way with this set of corrupted records...[we can] have a vote based on what the American people really think", Schneiderman said. "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", FCC spokeswoman Tina Pelkey said via email.

Schneiderman cited reports that that half a million of the comments appear to have been filed from Russian email addresses, a fact that net neutrality advocates likely hope will stoke further public interest in the often dry proceedings of the communications regulatory body.

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The New York Attorney General's office has been working on getting to the bottom of the fake FCC net neutrality comment controversy for months.

Pai's office has not returned SiliconBeat's repeated requests for comment Monday. "The FCC chairman and his staff have responded by stonewalling".

He also called on the FCC to delay a planned December 14 vote on chairman Ajit Pai's proposal to roll back numerous existing rules, which now ban internet providers from blocking or throttling traffic, or from selling "fast lanes" so content providers can reach consumers more quickly. "So I call on my colleagues to halt this vote until we get to the bottom of what has happened with these stolen identities and the quality of our public record", said Rosenworcel, who was nominated by President Barack Obama to the FCC. The problem? In most parts of the United States, the amount of ISPs available are pitiful, and for many, there is only one option.

Last week, on Wednesday, Attorney General Schneiderman launched a new webpage for New Yorkers to check whether their identities were wrongfully used without their consent.

A group of 27 senators also wrote to Pai on Monday asking that it delay its vote on the rules over concerns about the public comment record.

Meanwhile, an FCC member called on the commission to delay a scheduled December 14 vote on repealing net neutrality rules enacted under the Obama administration until an investigation can be completed.

"Our process for serving the public inter is broken", Rosenworcel said.

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