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05 December 2017, 02:07 | Rufus Hill
General Eric T. Schneiderman at a press conference at John Jay College in New York City U.S. on September 6
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel today called on the FCC to fully cooperate with Attorney General Schneiderman's investigation, after the FCC Inspector General's office reversed course and signaled its intent today to assist with Attorney General's inquiry into one million fake comments submitted during the net neutrality comment process. "But my office's investigation found that this process was deeply corrupted - with one million comments that may have been submitted using real people's stolen identities", said Attorney General Schneiderman.
More than 20 million comments were submitted - but Schneiderman says many of them are fake. Last week, Schneiderman set up a website that allows New Yorkers to report if their name and identifying info was misused to make a fraudulent net neutrality feedback comment appear legitimate. His office recently posted a page where visitors can flag fake comments, and he said it's gotten around 3,000 responses from around the country so far.
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. Virtually all opposed repealing the regulatory underpinning for the FCC's net neutrality rules.
The FCC, composed of three Republicans and two Democrats, is widely expected to kill net neutrality in favor of what Pai and the Republicans call "light-touch regulation".
After learning that Schneiderman meant to hold a press conference on Monday afternoon alongside FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC Office of Inspector General reportedly contacted the NY attorney general by email and offered its assistance with the investigation.
The Attorney General's Office has been investigating the cases for six months.
Pai, who was once the associate general counsel for Verizon and was nominated to the commission by Obama, has favored rolling back net neutrality regulations, an Obama-era rule that treats broadband like a public utility. But Schneiderman said that "unless we get the information from the FCC, it's anecdotal evidence".
"A free and open Internet is vital to ensuring a level playing field online, and we believe that your proposed action may be based on an incomplete understanding of the public record in this proceeding", the Senators wrote.
"This so-called investigation is nothing more than a transparent attempt by a partisan supporter of the Obama Administration's heavy-handed Internet regulations to gain publicity for himself", he said in an email November 22.
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