Net Neutrality vote must wait until conclusion of comment investigation, Schneiderman says

Ivan Schwartz
December 5, 2017

"[It is] incumbent upon the FCC and all of my colleagues to stand back, figure out what's in this record before us and get to the bottom of these stolen identities", said Rosenworcel.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat appointed by President Obama who supports keeping the current regulations, said that almost a half-million comments before the FCC were filed from Russian email addresses, and that 50,000 consumer complaints are missing from the record. However, earlier today, the FCC's Inspector General's office reversed course, indicating that it will assist with the Attorney General's investigation.

"With what would be a catastrophic vote by the FCC to repeal net neutrality looming, people are ready to take to the streets in protest and to offer Congress one last chance to answer the question: "Do you stand for your constituents" ability to communicate and connect, or do you stand for Verizon's bottom line?" said Mark Stanley, director of communications for Demand Progress, citing the overwhelming bipartisan support for net neutrality rules found in poll after poll.

But, if you want to figure out if you've had fake comments posted in your name to the FCC, use the link to the data base search tool, then use this link to tell the FCC your name was used without your permission in the creation of a fake comment on Net Neutrality.

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.

Schneiderman said his team "discovered lots of anecdotal evidence" that some of the comments left on the FCC website appeared to not be legitimate, which ultimately led to his office's investigation. But groups on both sides started to notice many were fakes.

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Today, 37 senators called on the FCC chairman to delay the December 14 vote on net neutrality because of fake comments submitted online. The FCC received a total of 21.7 million comments but a Pew Research Report found 57 percent of the comments used either duplicate or temporary email addresses and many individual names reappeared thousands of times.

The Senators who also voiced their hopes for a delay-all Democrats except for but Independents Angus King of ME and Bernie Sanders of Vermont - made their case in a letter sent to Chairman Pai. "In fact, there is good reason to believe that the record may be replete with fake or fraudulent comments, suggesting that your proposal is fundamentally flawed".

"Clearly the biggest beneficiary of the elimination of net neutrality are the internet service providers", Rhodes said. These reports raise serious concerns as to whether the record the FCC is now relying on has been tampered with and merits the full attention of, and investigation by, the FCC before votes on this item are cast.

Prior to releasing the open letter, the Attorney General's office had contacted the FCC and its top officials at least nine times to request assistance in its investigation.

"They just have to stop this vote", Schneiderman said at a press conference, Variety reported.

Other reports by GizPress

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