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Attorneys general seek delay of net neutrality vote


Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller joined 17 state attorneys general on Wednesday in asking the Federal Communications Commission to delay today’s net neutrality rule-making deadline, citing concerns over a possible criminal effort to corrupt the FCC’s comment process through large volumes of falsified public comments submitted to the agency.

In a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and the agency’s commissioners, the attorneys general question the integrity of the public comment process, based on a preliminary and ongoing investigation conducted by the New York attorney general. More than 5,000 New York residents have filed reports that their identities were used to submit fake comments to the FCC on the repeal of net neutrality. 

According to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a preliminary analysis shows that as many as 2 million comments misused the identities of real Americans, including more than 100,000 comments per state from New York, Florida, Texas and California.

“A careful review of the publicly available information revealed a pattern of fake submissions using the names of real people. In fact, there may be over 1 million fake submissions from across the country. This is akin to identity theft on a massive scale – and theft of someone’s voice in a democracy is particularly concerning,” the attorneys general wrote.

People can check whether their identity was misused in the FCC’s comment process and report it to the New York Attorney General’s Office at ag.ny.gov/FakeComments.

The move to repeal Obama-era net neutrality protections is supported by the telecom industry, which claims existing regulations threaten to hamper broadband investments and innovation. Technology companies and consumer advocacy groups have loudly protested the repeal effort for months, arguing it could spell the end of the internet as we know it. 

Want to know more about how the repeal of net neutrality could affect you? Here are links to an explainer article by CNN, and a short video produced by the Wall Street Journal.

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