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FCC Accused Of Using Fake Comments To Repeal Net Neutrality

NY AG Schneiderman accuses FCC of using phony letters of support to dismantle net neutrality.
FCC Accused Of Using Fake Comments To Repeal Net Neutrality
Ajit Pai - FCC Chair Image from: DonkeyHotey

Yesterday, New York State's Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, released an open letter through the online publishing platform Medium. The letter was addressed to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Chair, Ajit Pai, and accused him and the FCC's staff of using fraudulent comments to support its end run on net neutrality.

It's a common practice of the Trump administration to solicit negative comments on regulations and then use those comments to justify gutting those regulations. For instance, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Scott Pruitt has used adversarial comments against the Clean Air Act to dismantle and kill those regulations. Here's an example.

So, when Chairman Pai of the FCC wanted to dismantle the net neutrality regulations that prevent internet service providers from getting to pick and chose which websites get the best service (fastest speed), he solicited comments from the public. This request would seem like a purely democratic way of determining what the American people wanted...if the comments were actually sent by consumers. According to AG Schneiderman though, thousands of those American consumers who wrote to the FCC and expressed their support of Chairman Pai's preference to kill net neutrality were actually fake.

AG Schneiderman's office has apparently been investigating this fraud for the last 6 months and described it as a "massive scheme." This scheme involved using real accounts from real American's. Schneiderman's office has even requested documents from the FCC for the last 5 months in 9 different letters. To date, Chairman Pai and the FCC are ignoring the requests.

At the least, this amounts to identity theft. The worst would depend on who did the thieving. If it was telecom companies, they are guilty of falsifying these comments to better their bottom lines. If it was Republicans, who support Pai in this scam, then they are guilty of perverting the democratic process.

If is it was a foreign adversary, then we're really screwed.


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