New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) says his office is investigating a “massive scheme” to corrupt the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with fake public comments.
Schneiderman added that the FCC “has been unwilling to provide information that is critical” to the probe of the agency’s comment process during the net neutrality debate.
“Over the last 6 mos, my office has investigated a massive scheme to corrupt the @FCC’s comment process on #NetNeutrality by impersonating 100,000s of real Americans,” he tweeted.
“The FCC has been unwilling to provide information that is critical to the investigation,” he added before linking to a Medium post he authored on the matter.
Over the last 6 mos, my office has investigated a massive scheme to corrupt the @FCC's comment process on #NetNeutrality by impersonating 100,000s of real Americans.— Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) November 22, 2017
The FCC has been unwilling to provide information that is critical to the investigation: https://t.co/xxFjSg6Pxf
Schneiderman noted in the article – which is an open letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai (R) – that he became alarmed by the issue earlier this year.
“In May 2017, researchers and reporters discovered that the FCC’s public comment process was being corrupted by the submission of enormous numbers of fake comments concerning the possible repeal of net neutrality rules,” he said.
“So in June 2017, we contacted the FCC to request certain records related to its public comment system that were necessary to investigate which bad actor or actors were behind the misconduct,” Schneiderman continued.
“If law enforcement can’t investigate and (where appropriate) prosecute it when it happens on this scale, the door is open for it to happen again and again.”
Pai on Tuesday announced that the FCC would vote overturn net neutrality rules that require internet service providers to handle all web traffic equally.
The FCC will vote on the proposal at its Dec. 14 meeting, and with Republicans boasting three of the agency’s five seats, the repeal is expected to pass.
Pai added Tuesday that the rules – which were implemented by former President Barack Obama’s administration – were “heavy-handed, utility-style” regulations on the internet.
The repeal would free companies like Comcast from restrictions on blocking or throttling certain content or requiring websites to buy internet “fast lanes.”
Net neutrality supporters argue that eliminating the rules means giving such businesses the ability to block, favor or slow certain internet content.