Attorney General Schneiderman Releases Open Letter To FCC Regarding Net Neutrality

 Below is a message from the Office of Attorney General Schneiderman. Keep your eyes open online: 


Schneiderman: Tens Of Thousands Of New Yorkers May Have Had Their Identities Misused To Drown Out Views Of Real People During FCC Public Comment Period

NEW YORK - As FCC Chairman Pai announced its plan to dismantle the net neutrality regulations that ensure a free and open internet, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released an open letter regarding the massive scheme to corrupt the FCC’s notice and comment process through the misuse of enormous numbers of real New Yorkers’ and other Americans’ identities. That scheme is under investigation by the Attorney General’s office; however, to date, the FCC has refused to provide the office with information that is critical to the investigation.

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. The Attorney General’s office analyzed the fake comments and found that tens of thousands of New Yorkers – and hundreds of thousands of Americans – may have had their identities misused. While some of these fake comments used made up names and addresses, many misused the real names and addresses of actual people as part of the effort to undermine the integrity of the comment process. 

The Attorney General's office reached out for assistance to multiple top FCC officials, including Chairman Pai, three successive acting FCC General Counsels, and the FCC's Inspector General, but has received no substantive response to its investigative requests.

“Hundreds of thousands of Americans likely were victimized during the FCC's public comment process on net neutrality. That’s akin to identity theft, and it happened on a massive scale.” wrote Attorney General Schneiderman in his open letter. “I encourage the FCC to reconsider its refusal to assist in my office’s law enforcement investigation to identify and hold accountable those who illegally misused so many New Yorkers’ identities to corrupt the public comment process."

"In an era where foreign governments have indisputably tried to use the internet and social media to influence our elections, federal and state governments should be working together to ensure that malevolent actors cannot subvert our administrative agencies’ decision-making processes," wrote Attorney General Schneiderman.

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