Children, the elderly, and dead people are among the most active in submitting input to the FCC about its net neutrality policy. That’s the conclusion you would get from reading the organization’s database of comments that’s it’s required by law to collect and consider before it changes major regulations like those protecting net neutrality. New York’s attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, reports today that his six-month investigation has found up to 2 million fake comments submitted on behalf of citizens around the country. (Another 8 million were submitted under made-up names.) The most-afflicted states so far are New York and Florida, with over 100,000 fakes, and California and Texas, with over 150,000.
The data comes from a site set up by New York state but available to all Americans where they can enter their name to see if comments were submitted on their behalf. (Vermont has set up its own site, as well.) And the numbers may grow as more people visit the site. On December 4, New York said it had found up to 1 million comments.
Schneiderman asked the FCC back on December 4 to delay its vote until the fraudulent submissions can be investigated, and today attorneys general from 17 other states and the District of Columbia sent their own letter to the FCC asking for the vote to be postponed.
Schneiderman also says that the FCC has refused to cooperate with his investigation, and he published a letter today harshly criticizing FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. A state attorney general doesn’t have any authority over the FCC, but Schneiderman can investigate impersonation of New York residents, and he says it is common for a federal agency to voluntarily cooperate. Schneiderman ends his letter with a zinger, writing:
Your letter refers three times to the FCC’s desire to protect and preserve its “integrity.” Yet blithely ignoring clear evidence that two million of the comments it received stole Americans’ identities (not to mention another eight million that used entirely fabricated identities), stonewalling a state law enforcement investigation, and insisting upon a vote on a sweeping and controversial policy change despite a growing widespread outcry from Americans and a bipartisan chorus of elected officials and state law enforcement officers will irreparably damage the FCC’s integrity.