Net neutrality protests, coming to a Verizon store near you this Thursday

New York City Leads Local Government, Consumer Groups Asking FCC To Delay Net Neutrality Vote

New York City Leads Local Government, Consumer Groups Asking FCC To Delay Net Neutrality Vote

More than two dozen USA senators sent a letter Monday to the Federal Communications Commission, to express concern about the agency's plan to change the net neutrality policy enacted under former President Barack Obama.

Now more than a couple dozen senators are asking FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to delay the vote in the wake of questions about the 21 million-plus comments about net neutrality submitted to the agency during the public comment period.

In a surprise twist, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced on Monday that FCC officials charged with investigating incidents of fraud have agreed to cooperate with a law enforcement investigation into potentially millions of fake comments submitted using the FCC's website this year.

"[It is] incumbent upon the FCC and all of my colleagues to stand back, figure out what's in this record before us and get to the bottom of these stolen identities", said Rosenworcel.

Schneiderman said there are anecdotal reports of comments coming from dead people, children, fictional characters and Russian email addresses as well as from people whose names were used without their permission. 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.

Schneiderman, along with 27 USA senators, have called on the FCC to delay its December 14 vote on net neutrality due to the fake comments.

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.

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It added that since the FCC record of public comments could be flawed, a vote on the matter, scheduled for December 14, should be postponed. "No vote should take place until a responsible investigation is complete". "This is an attempt by people who want to keep the Obama Administration's heavy-handed Internet regulations to delay the vote because they realize that their effort to defeat the plan to restore Internet freedom has stalled", FCC spokeswoman Tina Pelkey said via email.

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 spokesperson said that Schneiderman had not identified as fake any comments that were used as part of Pai's proposal.

"Without additional information about the alleged anomalies surrounding the public records, the FCC can not conduct a thorough and fair evaluation of the public's view on this topic, and should not move forward with a vote on December 14, 2017".

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.

"The FCC needs to help with state investigations".

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