SD Senator John Thune; Time to Roll Back Net Neutrality
05 December, 2017, 01:50 | Author: Cecelia Webb
"This is akin to identity theft on a massive scale", he said.
"The idea that the FTC will come to the rescue if net neutrality is destroyed at the FCC is a bad joke". The order effectively abdicates the commission's authority to regulate internet service providers (ISPs), such as Comcast and Verizon.
He also called on the FCC to delay a planned December 14 vote on chairman Ajit Pai's proposal to roll back numerous existing rules, which now ban internet providers from blocking or throttling traffic, or from selling "fast lanes" so content providers can reach consumers more quickly.
"They just have to stop this vote", Schneiderman said at a press conference, Variety reported.
The FCC does not require commenters to verify their identity, and features on the FCC website allow multiple comments to be uploaded from the same computer at once. 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. And the son of a woman from Albany contacted Schneiderman's office, he said, to report that she had passed away a month before the comment was submitted. Fake comments were submitted both in support of and opposition to the FCC's proposed ruling, findings that echoed other studies.
Meanwhile, an FCC member called on the commission to delay a scheduled December 14 vote on repealing net neutrality rules enacted under the Obama administration until an investigation can be completed.
"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", he said in a statement.
Schneiderman had argued that "hundreds of thousands of identical anti-net neutrality comments under the names and addresses of unwitting Americans" constitutes illegal impersonation and misuse of a person's identity.
Current and former FCC officials, who spoke to Gizmodo this summer on condition of anonymity, said the FCC's IT staff had been directed not to make any effort to filter out potentially fake comments submitted during the net neutrality proceeding.
"Without additional information about the alleged anomalies surrounding the public record, the FCC can not conduct a thorough and fair evaluation of the public's views on this topic, and should not move forward with a vote", Hassan and 27 other senators - including Sens. Schneiderman added that the feedback system was "corrupted" - a fact that he accuses the FCC of being well aware of.
At a press conference Monday, Schneiderman said the FCC had for months had been unwilling to provide records necessary to investigate the alleged fake comments further, but that on Monday the FCC indicated that it would assist with the investigation.
Pai's office has not returned SiliconBeat's repeated requests for comment Monday.
Pai's plan "removes bright-line rules based on bipartisan principles, embraced by Republican and Democratic FCC chairmen over the last two decades", Eshoo said.
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