Published: Tue, December 05, 2017
Money | By Michele Stevens

SD Senator John Thune; Time to Roll Back Net Neutrality

SD Senator John Thune; Time to Roll Back Net Neutrality

The FCC is expected to vote on February 14 on Chairman Ajit Pai's plan to scrap the 2015 landmark net neutrality rules, moving to give broadband service providers sweeping power over what content consumers can access. Numerous comments, Schneiderman said, were filed using false identities, including those of minors and deceased people. For decades, it has served as the medium by which many people around the globe have connected and learned from each other and in its wake, technology has expanded dozens of times over to facilitate these connections via email, instant messaging and now video calling.

The New York Attorney General's Office also has introduced an online tool that the public can use to see if their identity was used to post a comment on the site without their knowledge or consent. Last month, Schneiderman criticized the FCC for its failure to cooperate in his office's ongoing investigation into the fake comments, which it began in June, making repeated contacts to the FCC over the subsequent five months. The basis for this request comes from mounting evidence that a portion of the FCC's 22 million public comments regarding Title II regulations may have been fake. In its essence, that ability to access everything on the web without it favoring or blocking anything is what is known as net neutrality.

"The integrity of the public record is at stake", she said. "The FCC chairman and his staff have responded by stonewalling".

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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".

You simply put in your name in special box, click it, and box and it searches the FCC's net neutrality comment data base. "An investigation by my office has revealed that this process has been deeply corrupted". An updated analysis by the Attorney General's office found that approximately one million of these comments may have misused the real names and addresses of Americans - including tens of thousands of New Yorkers.

"With what would be a catastrophic vote by the FCC to repeal net neutrality looming, people are ready to take to the streets in protest and to offer Congress one last chance to answer the question: "Do you stand for your constituents" ability to communicate and connect, or do you stand for Verizon's bottom line?" said Mark Stanley, director of communications for Demand Progress, citing the overwhelming bipartisan support for net neutrality rules found in poll after poll.

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Internet service providers now have to maintain equal access to all users of the internet. Attorney General Schneiderman and Commissioner Rosenworcel also called for the FCC's planned December 14th vote on net neutrality to be halted while these fake comments are investigated.

Schneiderman said his office is seeking FCC logs to show the origin of the comments.

Added Rosenworcel: "Distressingly, the FCC has been unwilling to assist a law enforcement investigation into some of these problems".

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