Senators Seek Delay on Net Neutrality Vote

SD Senator John Thune Time to Roll Back Net Neutrality

SD Senator John Thune Time to Roll Back Net Neutrality

Jessica Rosenworcel, one of two Democratic commissioners now on the FCC, also called for the vote to be delayed pending a full investigation. Data scientist Jeff Kao has also run an analysis of the public record, and estimates that over a million comments filed in support of repealing net neutrality may have been fake.

He added that at least one million more comments came from real people whose identities were stolen.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has spent the past six months conducting an investigation into the fraudulent comments, and found that "hundreds of thousands" of comments may have impersonated New York residents, a violation of state law.

The senators on Monday asked the FCC to cooperate with state and federal level probes, and to investigate the source of the comments. The cornerstone of his legacy is the Open Internet Rule, the mechanism that enshrines net neutrality in federal rules, and stands between profit-seeking telecoms monopoly and the American public.

Reached by email, an FCC spokesperson said there would be "no comment" regarding the inspector general's offer and instead attacked Schneiderman's investigation, claiming its only goal is to delay the December 14 vote to repeal the Obama-era net neutrality rules - which the FCC refers to as "restoring Internet freedom".

Since the open letter was published late last month, roughly 3,000 people from across the country have reached out to Schneiderman's office, including 350 New Yorkers, claiming that their names were used to submit comments without their knowledge, Schneiderman said. There's controversy that the comments appear to have been made by bots as regular people.

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. The AG said a man in Albany even reported that his dead mother made a comment.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has said he plans to repeal the Obama-era policy and modernize the agency's approach to monitoring the Internet - which could include restricting access or accelerating flow to and from certain websites. The current net neutrality rules, approved during the Obama administration, barred internet providers from deliberately speeding up or slowing down traffic to or from specific websites and apps.

"While I fundamentally disagree with the merits of the FCC's proposal, what is equally concerning is the lack of integrity to the FCC's process that has led to this point", said FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel, a Democrat. "Until we get to the bottom of this, no vote should take place until a responsible investigation - like that in NY - is complete".

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