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. "This is akin to identity theft on a massive scale", he said. The current net neutrality rules, approved during the Obama administration, barred internet providers from deliberately speeding up or slowing down traffic to or from specific websites and apps.
One of the key things about our democracy is the ability to speak out on issues that concern us and when a government agency is going to make a decision on an issue of public importance, it usually asks for public comments. Among other things, Schneiderman cited a Broadband for America-funded study that found almost 8 million comments had been submitted using temporary or disposable email addresses, and almost 10 million comments involved duplicate email and home addresses.
The FCC does not require commenters to verify their identity, and features on the FCC website allow multiple comments to be uploaded from the same computer at once.
Since the open letter was published late last month, roughly 3,000 people from across the country have reached out to Schneiderman's office, including 350 New Yorkers, claiming that their names were used to submit comments without their knowledge, Schneiderman said.
It turns out his wife's best friend also has a comment posted, but her comment was against net neutrality. "No vote should take place until a responsible investigation is complete". If so, and if the FCC rolls back the net neutrality rules December 14, then neither the FTC nor the FCC will have the authority to regulate broadband providers.
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You simply put in your name in special box, click it, and box and it searches the FCC's net neutrality comment data base. But groups on both sides started to notice many were fakes. The protests are being organized by Team Internet, a "grassroots network of almost half a million volunteer activists spearheaded by Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, and Free Press Action Fund, three of the groups behind the massive July 12 net neutrality day of action that drove millions of comments, emails, and phone calls to the FCC and Congress". There are multiple reports that the comments include fake ones, perhaps made by bots.
The city of NY and numerous groups supporting net neutrality have urged the FCC in a letter to delay the vote to allow for debate on the issue.
Reached by email, an FCC spokesperson said there would be "no comment" regarding the inspector general's offer and instead attacked Schneiderman's investigation, claiming its only objective is to delay the December 14th vote to repeal the Obama-era net neutrality rules-which the FCC refers to as "restoring Internet freedom".
In a November 21st open letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Attorney General Schneiderman announced that his office has - for six months - been investigating the submission of enormous numbers of fake comments on the possible repeal of neutrality rules, which used real Americans' identities.
A spokesperson for the FCC said, "At today's press conference, they didn't identify a single comment relied upon in the draft order as being questionable".