New York Attorney General Wants Net Neutrality Vote to Be Delayed

Lucy Bush
December 5, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission could vote this week to roll back net neutrality rules.

It will now assist the New York Attorney General's office in looking into all of the fake anti-net neutrality comments submitted via the FCC site.

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.

Without the FCC's help, the New York Attorney General's office recently launched a webpage that allows Americans to search the FCC comment system to find out whether their identities had been stolen.

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A group of 27 senators also wrote to Pai on Monday asking that it delay its vote on the rules over concerns about the public comment record. 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. Verizon has been a proponent of the FCC's move to repeal net neutrality, and new FCC chairman Ajit Pai is a former Verizon lawyer, so protesting Verizon stores makes about as much sense as anything else.

As Republicans now hold a majority of the FCC's five seats, the order to repeal the net neutrality rules is expected to pass. Twenty-eight U.S. senators have asked that the vote be postponed due to the allegations of fraud dismissed by Chairman Pai.

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.

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.

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She warned in a phone interview Thursday that the FCC's draft order "completely discards the fundamental open internet of the last 20 years", and that it is "going to a whole new place".

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. The FCC needs to get to the bottom of this mess. "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".

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.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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