SD Senator John Thune; Time to Roll Back Net Neutrality

Eric Schneiderman

CREDIT Mary Altaffer AP REX Shutterstock

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.

When Pai made his proposal public last month, an FCC official said that the vast majority of the comments were from form letters, and that 7.5 million of the responses were exactly the same and came from 45,000 unique names and addresses.

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.

Schneiderman accused the FCC of "stonewalling" on the investigation, although he said that the FCC inspector general had recently offered to help.

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. "But the FCC is on course to eliminate net neutrality guided by a record corrupted by hundreds of thousands of filings with stolen identities, close to half a million comments from Russian e-mail addresses, and an alleged distributed denial of service attack", said FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.

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.

The Attorney General's Office has set up a website for New Yorkers where you can check to see if your identity was used without your consent.

"The FCC must invest its time and resources into obtaining a more accurate picture of the record as understanding that record is essential to reaching a defensible resolution to this proceeding", the Senators concluded. And the son of a woman from Albany contacted Schneiderman's office, he said, to report that she had passed away a month before the comment was submitted. Attorney General Schneiderman and Commissioner Rosenworcel also called for the FCC's planned December 14 vote on net neutrality to be halted while these fake comments are investigated.

The Federal Communications Commission is expected later this month to repeal landmark regulations that aim to ensure that all websites, large and small, are treated equally by Internet providers.

"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. He said comments submitted in support of net neutrality were likely tied to automated accounts. But Schneiderman said that "unless we get the information from the FCC, it's anecdotal evidence".

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".

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