Net Neutrality vote must wait until conclusion of comment investigation, Schneiderman says

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.

Schneiderman's office has launched investigation into alleged fraudulent comments filed with the FCC both for and against dismantling the rules, and found that up to a million of the 23 million total comments received by the FCC may be fraudulent.

"Impersonation, forgery, other misuses of a person's identity are a violation to NY law".

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

Last week, Schneiderman's office unveiled an online tool that helped people see if their names had been used without their knowledge on comments submitted to the FCC.

"We are hoping they can delay the vote so we can get to the bottom of this", he said in a news conference.

Schneiderman, along with 27 USA senators, have called on the FCC to delay its December 14 vote on net neutrality due to the fake comments. The agency has also said it "lacks the resources" to investigate every one of the comment records.

"The raw number is not as important as the substantive comments that are in the record", Pai said a July FCC meeting.

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"This is unacceptable", Rosenworcel, who supports the net neutrality rules, said on Monday.

The FCC, composed of three Republicans and two Democrats, is widely expected to kill net neutrality in favor of what Pai and the Republicans call "light-touch regulation".

Pai said the FCC will vote on December 14 to repeal the 2015 regulations it put in place that require internet Service Providers, or ISPs, to offer equal access to all users.

The prosecutor added that he has contacted the FCC nine times about the investigation before finally receiving an offer of assistance from the agency's inspector general's office that morning.

"The FCC needs to help with state investigations".

Schneiderman said his team "discovered lots of anecdotal evidence" that some of the comments left on the FCC website appeared to not be legitimate, which ultimately led to his office's investigation.

Because one component of Pai's plan is to give the FTC significant responsibility for shielding internet users from corporate throttling, any ruling that concludes the FTC does not have such legal authority would effectively leave telecom companies in charge of regulating themselves. "No vote should take place until a responsible investigation is complete", she said.

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.

  • Megan Austin