New York Attorney General investigating fraud on net neutrality comment site

New York Attorney General investigating fraud on net neutrality comment site

Earlier this month, it was revealed that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), led by Chairman Ajit Pai, would be voting to kill the Net Neutrality Rules that are now in effect next month.

"It eliminates all prohibitions against blocking and throttling (slowing down) applications by broadband providers, and enables them to engage in paid prioritization and unreasonable discrimination at the point of interconnection", she said. If law enforcement can't investigate and (where appropriate) prosecute when it happens on this scale, the door is open for it to happen again and again. That's important no matter one's position on net neutrality, environmental rules, and so many other areas in which federal agencies regulate.

While the notion of net neutrality has been in the public consciousness since 2014 at least, thanks in part to comedian/commentator John Oliver, Tuesday's announcement left many wondering just what the FCC does and how its new rules might affect their lives. The vote was shrouded in secrecy, with former chairman Tom Wheeler not releasing the text of the almost 400-page net neutrality rule until two weeks after the FCC voted to approve it. The changes, spearheaded by Chairman Ajit Pai, are likely to pass through the Republican-dominated Commission.

Editor's Note: NPR's legal counsel has filed comments with the FCC on the net neutrality proposal, in opposition to deregulation.

He could not immediately say whether that operation was based in the United States or elsewhere, but called Schneiderman's investigation a witch hunt.

Mayor Bill de Blasio also weighed in on the plan.

Schneiderman is not the first to accuse the FCC of stonewalling investigations into the net neutrality comment system.

An Open Letter to the FCC: – Eric Schneiderman – Medium
FCC looks to do away with 'net neutrality'

On Tuesday, New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman published an open letter to the agency lambasting it for refusing to help investigate the suspected fraud. "So this time around we are going to make it public".

Pai - a free-market advocate who has staked his FCC chairmanship on deregulation - has argued that the FCC's 2015 rules have depressed companies' investments in building and expanding broadband networks and deterred them from coming up with new consumer-friendly business models.

The FCC is also facing a lawsuit alleging that it ignored a FoIA request for data related to bulk comment uploads, which may contain comments falsely attributed to people without their knowledge.

New York's investigation is "about the right to control one's own identity and prevent the corruption of a process created to solicit the opinion of real people and institutions", Schneiderman wrote.

"We all have a powerful reason to hold accountable those who would steal Americans' identities and assault the public's right to be heard in government rule making", Schneiderman wrote.

Tech writer Molly Wood, who's started an intensive Twitter thread on the topic, says the Net Neutrality argument comes down to whether you believe that service providers can be trusted.

"In an era where foreign governments have indisputably tried to use the internet and social media to influence our elections, federal and state governments should be working together to ensure that malevolent actors can not subvert our administrative agencies' decision-making processes", he wrote.

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