New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called Monday for the Federal Communications Commission to delay its vote to repeal net neutrality, scheduled for next week, after his office and other researchers said they've found that more than a million comments submitted to the FCC on the issue were fake.
"I'm asking Chairman Pai to join us in our effort to investigate millions of fake comments and massive identity theft perpetrated against Americans", he said.
He added that at least one million more comments came from real people whose identities were stolen.
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".
"We are hoping they can delay the vote so we can get to the bottom of this", he said in a news conference.
A data firm backed by a telecom industry group found in August that the overwhelming majority of about 1.8 million comments to the FCC favored net neutrality, compared with 24,000 who supported its repeal. 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. According to the sources, Chairman Pai's staff had expressed concern that any attempt to block fraudulent comments would result in accusations that Pai was trying to censor net neutrality advocates. The Democratic commissioners are against Pai's plan to roll back net neutrality rules.
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.
"Without additional information about the alleged anomalies surrounding the public record, the FCC can not conduct a thorough and fair evaluation of the public's views on this topic, and should not move forward with a vote", Hassan and 27 other senators - including Sens. 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". That's unacceptable. The FCC needs to correct this course immediately.
The spokesperson said that Schneiderman had not identified as fake any comments that were used as part of Pai's proposal.
She warned in a phone interview Thursday that the FCC's draft order "completely discards the fundamental open internet of the last 20 years", and that it is "going to a whole new place". 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.
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.