AG Scheiderman: Fake Comments Corrupted FCC's Feedback On Net Neutrality

New York City Leads Local Government, Consumer Groups Asking FCC To Delay Net Neutrality Vote

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. 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".

-Craig Aaron, Free PressA coalition of over 40 consumer protection groups also called on the FCC to postpone its vote on repealing net neutrality in a letter to Pai on Monday, citing a pending court case that could ultimately "leave consumers at the mercy of internet service providers".

In simple terms, Rhodes said internet service providers are treated like a utility under net neutrality.

"They just have to stop this vote", Schneiderman said at a press conference, Variety reported.

For now, Schneiderman called the FCC's entire comment process "deeply corrupted", and asked federal investigators to look into the incident alongside his own probe. The Democratic commissioners are against Pai's plan to roll back net neutrality rules.

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.

To this end, we request a thorough investigation by the FCC into reports that bots may have interfered with this proceeding by filing hundreds of thousands of comments. "This is unacceptable. The integrity of the public record matters".


The New York Attorney General's office has been working on getting to the bottom of the fake FCC net neutrality comment controversy for months.

"Even right here in my office, my assistant press secretary, Rachel, had a phony comment submitted under her name using the address of her childhood home", Schneiderman said.

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.

Schneiderman accused the FCC of "stonewalling" on the investigation, although he said that the FCC inspector general had recently offered to help.

"The FCC needs to help with state investigations".

In related news, the FCC has reversed course in one respect. The future of the Internet is at stake.

Furthermore, protests have been planned throughout the nation over the coming days in opposition to the FCC's "scorched-earth" attack on net neutrality: More than 600 demonstrations are scheduled to take place at Verizon stores and congressional offices across the country on Thursday, exactly one week ahead of the FCC's planned vote.

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