House Dems want investigation of fake net neutrality comments

House Dems want investigation of fake net neutrality comments
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A group of House Democrats are urging the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate fake comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the agency’s efforts to repeal its net neutrality rules.

Eleven Democrats sent a letter to the GAO on Monday raising concerns about the use of fake or stolen identities in the net neutrality comment record.

“We understand that the FCC’s rulemaking process requires it to address all comments it receives, regardless of who submits them,” the letter reads. “However, we do not believe any outside parties should be permitted to generate any comments to any federal government entity using information it knows to be false, such as the identities of those submitting the comments.”

The group was led by Reps. Gregory MeeksGregory Weldon MeeksNew Dem star to rattle DC establishment Proxy advisors do need to be regulated Dems near decision on superdelegates MORE (D-N.Y.), Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsOvernight Energy: House to vote on anti-carbon tax measure | Dem says EPA obstructed 'politically charged' FOIA requests | GOP looks to overhaul endangered species law Top Dem: EPA slowed ‘politically charged’ FOIA requests Top Dem displays posters of ‘guilty’ subjects in Mueller probe MORE (D-Md.) and Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneFCC passes controversial rule changing how it handles consumer complaints Overnight Health Care: Dem demands details on Trump-Pfizer pricing deal | Why both sides agree nominee could shift high court to right on abortion | DEA gets more powers to limit opioid production Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers eye ban on Chinese surveillance cameras | DOJ walks back link between fraud case, OPM breach | GOP senators question Google on Gmail data | FCC under pressure to delay Sinclair merger review MORE (D-N.J.).

Over the summer, the FCC received nearly 22 million comments when it asked for public input on its plan to repeal the 2015 net neutrality rules, which prohibit internet service providers from discriminating against certain content. Some studies have found evidence that bots were used to spam the record with fake messages in some instances.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) said this week that his office identified about 1 million comments that may have been submitted under stolen identities. Schneiderman, who supports the net neutrality rules, joined a growing list of Democrats who called on the FCC to cancel its Dec. 14 vote to repeal rules.

The Democrats in their letter this week also said they are “concerned that the FCC appears to be withholding information requested by Attorney General Schneiderman to allow him to investigate these abuses."

The FCC has dismissed the Democrats' campaign as a politically motivated attempt to stall the repeal vote.