Published: Wed, December 06, 2017
Global | By Enrique Rogers

FCC: "Desperate" net neutrality supporters won't delay vote


Schneiderman pointed to a study paid for by an industry group that represents Internet service providers called Broadband for America, which he says has acknowledged that as many as eight million comments submitted to the FCC may have been fake.

His office has set up a webpage where people can search the FCC comment database and report fake submissions.

Schneiderman says tens of thousands of people across the country may have had their names attached to the fake submissions.

Although Schneiderman said he has received more than 3,200 complaints, including 350 in NY, from those who say comments were made in their or a relative's name without their consent, the FCC is refusing to provide any records or data to help with the investigation.

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".

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". 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 working to censor net neutrality advocates. There's controversy that the comments appear to have been made by bots as regular people.

More than two dozen US senators sent a letter Monday to the Federal Communications Commission, to express concern about the agency's plan to change the net neutrality policy enacted under former President Barack Obama. The AG said a man in Albany even reported that his dead mother made a comment.

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"The integrity of the public record is at stake", she said.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has said he plans to repeal the Obama-era policy and modernize the agency's approach to monitoring the Internet - which could include restricting access or accelerating flow to and from certain websites.

With the imminent repeal in the U.S. of "net neutrality", a set of rules instituted by that county's telecoms regulator in 2015, the cacophony has become deafening.

Pai has stated that the current rules, which hold ISPs to a stricter standard under Title II, will be repealed, moving service providers back to laxer Title I coverage.

A transparent and open process is vitally important to how the FCC functions. 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.

"At today's news conference, they didn't identify a single comment relied upon in the draft order as being questionable", Tina Pelkey, a spokeswoman for the FCC, told the Washington Post. "Until we get to the bottom of this, no vote should take place until a responsible investigation - like that in NY - is complete".

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