Net Neutrality vote must wait until conclusion of comment investigation, Schneiderman says

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman took aim at the integrity of the FCC's rule-making proceeding to roll back many of its current net neutrality rules, pointing to evidence that numerous public comments filed come from stolen identities or are fake.

Schneiderman and FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel urged the agency's chair, Ajit Pai, to fully cooperate with the state's investigation of more than one million comments that were made nationwide during the public discussion.

The Attorney General's Office has set up a website for New Yorkers where you can check to see if your identity was used without your consent. "This is akin to identity theft on a massive scale", he said.

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.

Specifically, the groups propose the FCC delay the vote until a pending court case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - the en banc review in Federal Trade Commission v. AT&T Mobility - resolves.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat appointed by President Obama who supports keeping the current regulations, said that almost a half-million comments before the FCC were filed from Russian email addresses, and that 50,000 consumer complaints are missing from the record.

On Cyber Monday alone over 200 companies signed a letter to the FCC in strong support of net neutrality regulations, claiming that major sales periods for businesses - like Black Friday - are only possible with a free and open internet.

The chairman announced a plan in April to repeal the rules that restrict internet service providers from discriminating against certain websites.


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

It added that since the FCC record of public comments could be flawed, a vote on the matter, scheduled for December 14, should be postponed.

"The raw number is not as important as the substantive comments that are in the record", Pai said a July FCC meeting.

A spokesperson for the FCC said, "At today's press conference, they didn't identify a single comment relied upon in the draft order as being questionable".

Twenty-eight US senators, including Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, also sent a letter to Pai Monday urging him to postpone the vote in light of the investigation.

"This is just evidence that supporters of heavy-handed Internet regulations are becoming more desperate by the day as their effort to defeat Chairman Pai's plan to restore Internet freedom has stalled".

"The FCC needs to help with state investigations".

  • Tracy Klein