Economy

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

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

In an open letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai last month, Schneiderman wrote that the FCC's public comments website had been deeply "corrupted", and that his office had uncovered "enormous numbers of fake comments concerning the possible repeal of net neutrality rules". Over 23 million comments were submitted to the FCC, but allegations of fraud and fake comments have destroyed the integrity of that process, enabling the FCC to ignore public feedback. For decades, it has served as the medium by which many people around the globe have connected and learned from each other and in its wake, technology has expanded dozens of times over to facilitate these connections via email, instant messaging and now video calling. He used this tool designed by the New York State attorney general who is investigating the fake comments.

One way the FCC gets public input on issues like that is by allowing online comments on a special webpage but, some are claiming up to a million and a half comments submitted to the FCC regarding net neutrality are fake. Between June and November, Schneiderman's office requested logs and "other records" from the FCC nine times, but has received "no substantive response to our investigative requests".

Current and former FCC officials, who spoke to Gizmodo this summer on condition of anonymity, said the FCC's IT staff had been directed not to make any effort to filter out potentially fake comments submitted during the net neutrality proceeding.

With no net neutrality your internet service prover could charge you separately for video, email, gaming, and social media which could be way more expensive than it is now. The FCC announced its plan - which would basically give all telecoms regulation duties to the FTC, an organization poorly-equipped to deal with the telecoms companies - early this year, and the public comments section has been open since then. "The FCC chairman and his staff have responded by stonewalling".

Citing the findings of Schneiderman's office and other researchers, the senators wrote, "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".

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.

You simply put in your name in special box, click it, and box and it searches the FCC's net neutrality comment data base.

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"Even right here in my office, my assistant press secretary, Rachel, had a phony comment submitted under her name using the address of her childhood home", Schneiderman said. 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.

Internet service providers now have to maintain equal access to all users of the internet.

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.

"We are hoping they can delay the vote so we can get to the bottom of this", he said in a news conference.

Added Rosenworcel: "Distressingly, the FCC has been unwilling to assist a law enforcement investigation into some of these problems".

In related news, the FCC has reversed course in one respect.

The FCC is scheduled to vote on repealing net neutrality next week.