Preliminary New York Attorney General investigation finds massive number of falsified public comments submitted to FCC on net neutrality issue
(DES MOINES, Iowa) Attorney General Tom Miller today joined 17 state attorneys general in asking the Federal Communications Commission to delay its net neutrality rulemaking deadline of tomorrow, following growing evidence of a criminal effort to corrupt the FCC’s recent net neutrality comment process through large volumes of falsified public comments submitted to the agency—perhaps as many as one to two million.
In a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and the agency’s commissioners, the attorneys general question the integrity of the public comment process, based on a preliminary and ongoing investigation conducted by the New York Attorney General.
More than 5,000 people have filed reports with the New York Attorney General’s office regarding identities used to submit fake comments to the FCC on the repeal of net neutrality.
According to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a preliminary analysis shows that as many as two million comments misused the identities of real Americans, including more than 100,000 comments per state from New York, Florida, Texas, and California.
“A careful review of the publicly available information revealed a pattern of fake submissions using the names of real people. In fact, there may be over one million fake submissions from across the country. This is akin to identity theft on a massive scale – and theft of someone’s voice in a democracy is particularly concerning,” the attorneys general wrote.
“It is essential that the Commission gets a full and accurate picture of how changes to net neutrality will affect the everyday lives of Americans before they can act on such sweeping policy changes,” the attorneys general added.
Tomorrow, FCC commissioners plan to vote on eliminating rules meant to stop internet service providers from exercising more control over how people access content through the internet. Currently, providers are required to treat all web traffic equally.
People can check whether their identity was misused in the FCC’s comment process and report it to the New York Attorney General’s office at ag.ny.gov/FakeComments.