According to one report from data scientist Jeff Kao, over 1.3 million comments have been proven to be fraudulent in nature thus far, with many comments impersonating United States residents or using duplicate email addresses.
Simply put, rolling back net neutrality protections is a hugely unpopular policy decision that will place consumers at the unregulated mercy of a few giant telecom companies.
Citing the findings of Schneiderman's office and other researchers, the senators wrote, "These reports raise serious concerns as to whether the record the FCC is now relying on has been tampered with and merits the full attention of, and investigation by, the FCC before votes on this item are cast". One of the people whose name was used to submit a fake net neutrality comment included Schneiderman's assistant press secretary, he said.
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.
"This is unacceptable", Rosenworcel, who supports the net neutrality rules, said Monday, The Hill reported.
In an open letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai last month, Schneiderman wrote that the FCC's public comments website had been deeply "corrupted", and that his office had uncovered "enormous numbers of fake comments concerning the possible repeal of net neutrality rules".
"We are hoping they can delay the vote so we can get to the bottom of this", he said in a news conference. Now he is FCC chairman and wants to roll back the net neutrality rules that were adopted two years ago. His concern was echoed by Rosenworcel, who also brought up other issues with the process, like an alleged denial of service attack that crashed the system, and 50,000 comments that were submitted but are apparently missing from the public record.
The Attorney General's Office has set up a website for New Yorkers where you can check to see if your identity was used without your consent.
Schneiderman had argued that "hundreds of thousands of identical anti-net neutrality comments under the names and addresses of unwitting Americans" constitutes illegal impersonation and misuse of a person's identity. Specifically, the groups propose the FCC delay the vote until a pending court case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - the en banc review in Federal Trade Commission v. AT&T Mobility - resolves. Schneiderman joined a group of 27 senators who are also calling for a delay on the December 14 vote that is widely expected to repeal Obama-era net neutrality rules.
"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. Schneiderman said it's a more "mixed bag" now.