The Federal Communications Commission could vote this week to roll back net neutrality rules.
During a news conference in Manhattan, the Democratic attorney general said he received notification Monday morning that the FCC's inspector general's office would offer assistance in Schneiderman's probe into thousands of possibly phony comments that were left on the FCC's public comment section on the topic of net neutrality, the existing principle that internet service providers-such as Comcast or Verizon-can't slow down, speed up or block internet access for some web sites relative to others.
South Dakota Senator John Thune says he is hearing about it.... Public Knowledge contends that this would leave consumers at the mercy of internet service providers. "We want to weigh all comments and make sure that we take a full view of the record and again make the appropriate judgment based on those facts and the law as it applies". 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.
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The FCC's plan to roll back Title II Net Neutrality regulations has been the subject of dire controversy and heated debate lately.
For example, Schneiderman said his office had been contacted by the father of a 13-year-old girl from Rochester, New York, whose name and address had been used to submit a fraudulent comment regarding net neutrality.
"This is unacceptable", Rosenworcel, who supports the net neutrality rules, said on Monday. The FCC announced its plan - which would basically give all telecoms regulation duties to the FTC, an organization poorly-equipped to deal with the telecoms companies - early this year, and the public comments section has been open since then. One of the people whose name was used to submit a fake net neutrality comment included Schneiderman's assistant press secretary, he said. Adding to the already record-breaking number of public comments submitted to the FCC over the last several months, more than 760,000 calls have flooded congressional phone lines since November 21, according to Battle for the Net.
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Citing the findings of Schneiderman's office and other researchers, the senators wrote, "These reports raise serious concerns as to whether the record the FCC is now relying on has been tampered with and merits the full attention of, and investigation by, the FCC before votes on this item are cast". President Trump nominated Pai to run the FCC in 2017, and that brings us to today's brouhaha.
In an open letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai last month, Schneiderman wrote that the FCC's public comments website had been deeply "corrupted", and that his office had uncovered "enormous numbers of fake comments concerning the possible repeal of net neutrality rules".
Jessica Rosenworcel, one of two Democratic commissioners now on the FCC, also called for the vote to be delayed pending a full investigation.
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