Senators urge FCC to delay net neutrality vote

This image is for use with this specific article only.** Ajit Pai is the current FCC chairman

NY attorney general Eric Schneiderman, FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, and 28 senators want the FCC to delay its upcoming net neutrality vote, giving investigators more time to look into a spate of fake public comments submitted under real peoples' names.

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". "So I call on my colleagues to halt this vote until we get to the bottom of what has happened with these stolen identities and the quality of our public record", said Rosenworcel, who was nominated by President Barack Obama to the FCC.

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. His office recently posted a page where visitors can flag fake comments, and he said it's gotten around 3,000 responses from around the country so far.

The city of NY and numerous groups supporting net neutrality have urged the FCC in a letter to delay the vote to allow for debate on the issue. Unlike legislative votes in Congress, concerned citizens don't have a local senator to complain to, and the FCC's comment process has left a lot to be desired. "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", FCC spokeswoman Tina Pelkey said via email. One of the people whose name was used to submit a fake net neutrality comment included Schneiderman's assistant press secretary, he said.

The FCC received almost 22 million comments when it asked for public input on the plan to scrap the rules that prevent internet service providers from discriminating against certain content, The Hill reported.




"The integrity of the public record matters".

The prosecutor added that he has contacted the FCC nine times about the investigation before finally receiving an offer of assistance from the agency's inspector general's office that morning.

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. That's unacceptable. The FCC needs to correct this course immediately.

Demonstrations against Pai's plan have also taken place online.

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