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 MeeksDem lawmaker says Trump is trying to be Putin Senate Dem denounces Farrakhan's remarks Women's March leader defends attending event where speaker made anti-semitic remarks MORE (D-N.Y.), Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsCoherent strategy needed beyond limited sanctions to counter Russian aggression House Oversight Dems: GOP blocking request for Trump admin records Dems accuse Trump officials of seeking State Department purge MORE (D-Md.) and Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneFormer FDA heads speak out against 'right to try' Overnight Regulation: Senate passes Dodd-Frank rollback | SEC charges Theranos CEO with 'massive fraud' | Former Equifax exec charged with insider trading | FEC proposes changing digital ad rules Overnight Energy: GOP lawmaker eyes subsidies for coal power | Group sues for details on Interior's hunting policy panel | Perry not interested in VA job 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.