SD Senator John Thune; Time to Roll Back Net Neutrality

Casey Dawson
December 5, 2017

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and twenty-eight US senators said Monday they were seeking a delay in a Federal Communications Commission vote to repeal Obama-era Internet regulations, citing a profusion of fake public comments surrounding the hot-button issue.

Appearing in a press conference alongside Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, Schneiderman said that his office had found about one million comments in the FCC's net neutrality docket that may have been submitted using stolen identities.

Schneiderman said there are anecdotal reports of comments coming from dead people, children, fictional characters and Russian email addresses as well as from people whose names were used without their permission.

The page "allows anyone that thinks their identity may have been stolen to check the complete file of FCC comments and see if a fake submission was made in their name".

Meanwhile, organizers say they expect more than 600 protests at all 50 states at Verizon stores and at lawmakers' offices in Washington this Thursday, a week before the vote.

The FCC is scheduled to hold a vote on December 14th over an order to replace and repeal the 2015 rules enforcing net neutrality.

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"If 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", the letter said. Virtually all opposed repealing the regulatory underpinning for the FCC's net neutrality rules.

There is fear that could lead to higher prices and less access to the internet.

According to Schneiderman, the net neutrality feedback process generated more than 23 million total comments, marking an unprecedented level of participation. "We are requesting that you delay your planned vote on this item until you can conduct a thorough review of the state of the record and provide Congress with greater assurance of its accuracy and completeness", they wrote.

After learning that Schneiderman meant to hold a press conference on Monday afternoon alongside FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC Office of Inspector General reportedly contacted the NY attorney general by email and offered its assistance with the investigation.

"Without additional information about the alleged anomalies surrounding the public records, the FCC can not conduct a thorough and fair evaluation of the public's view on this topic, and should not move forward with a vote on December 14, 2017". However, earlier today, the FCC's Inspector General's office reversed course, indicating that it will assist with the Attorney General's investigation. While Pai contends the regulations were hurting ISPs, opponents say it crucially prevented them from imposing restrictive measures such as speed throttling or content preference.

"This is just evidence that supporters of heavy-handed Internet regulations are becoming more desperate by the day as their effort to defeat Chairman Pai's plan to restore Internet freedom has stalled. There needs to be federal investigation", he said.

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