Twenty-seven US senators and New York's attorney general asked federal regulators Monday to delay a vote on scrapping open internet rules amid concerns the public comment docket is filled with fake comments.
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. The FCC and the FCC Inspector General's office had been unwilling to provide records necessary to investigate who may be behind the misused identities - a departure from past practice, where the FCC has cooperated with the Attorney General's office on confidential investigations into practices that harmed New Yorkers and residents of other states. Numerous comments, Schneiderman said, were filed using false identities, including those of minors and deceased people. "In less than a week, we've received more than 3,000 responses from across the country and they continue to come in", Schneiderman said.
Building on the outrage expressed by the American public, a group of 27 senators including Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) delivered a letter to Pai on Monday demanding that the FCC vote be delayed in the face of evidence that the public "record may be replete with fake or fraudulent comments, suggesting that your proposal is fundamentally flawed".
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. Supporters of the FCC's move to do away with network neutrality rules-mainly big ISPs like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast, and the GOP politicians who love them-will very likely say that Schneiderman and Rosenworcel are simply declaring a mistrial (so to speak) based on a technicality.More news: Pakistani Government Calls in Army to Help Disperse Islamist Protesters
More: Net Neutrality comments were a record.
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. The FCC needs to get to the bottom of this mess.
The Attorney General's Office has been investigating the cases for six months. "This is an attempt by people who want to keep the Obama Administration's heavy-handed Internet regulations to delay the vote because they realize that their effort to defeat the plan to restore internet freedom has stalled". "No vote should take place until a responsible investigation is complete".