Net Neutrality vote must wait until conclusion of comment investigation, Schneiderman says

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

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and twenty-eight USA senators said Monday they were seeking a delay in a Federal Communications Commission vote to repeal Obama-era Internet regulations, citing a profusion of fake public comments surrounding the hot-button issue.

The protests are being organized by Team Internet, a "grassroots network of almost half a million volunteer activists spearheaded by Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, and Free Press Action Fund, three of the groups behind the massive July 12 net neutrality day of action that drove millions of comments, emails, and phone calls to the FCC and Congress". "This is akin to identity theft on a massive scale".

Last week, Schneiderman's office unveiled an online tool that helped people see if their names had been used without their knowledge on comments submitted to the FCC.

The FCC is set to repeal net neutrality in a vote on December 14th, but its comment period - which is meant to give the public a voice in the process - has been beset with problems. They also called on the FCC to seriously investigate the source of the comments, and to cooperate with state- or federal-level probes.

More: Net Neutrality comments were a record. "Given the enormous danger to consumers of losing all protections should the Ninth Circuit decide to affirm the panel decision and side with AT&T Mobility, the FCC should delay a vote until the en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit issues its decision", the letter said.

Schneiderman accused the FCC of "stonewalling" on the investigation, although he said that the FCC inspector general had recently offered to help.

Under new rules proposed by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, internet providers would be allowed to prioritize content but would need to publicly disclose they are doing so.

Under Pai's proposal, the Obama-era rules would be reversed and ISPs would only have to disclose blocking or throttling.

As Republicans now hold a majority of the FCC's five seats, the order to repeal the net neutrality rules is expected to pass. Twenty-eight U.S. senators have asked that the vote be postponed due to the allegations of fraud dismissed by Chairman Pai. "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". That's unacceptable. The FCC needs to correct this course immediately. "Until we get to the bottom of this, no vote should take place until responsible investigation-like that in New York-is complete".

Based on Schneiderman's investigation, residents of California, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas may have also had their personal information used to submit comments on net neutrality, Rosenworcel said.

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