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18 attorneys general ask FCC to delay net neutrality vote for fake comments investigation

18 attorneys general ask FCC to delay net neutrality vote for fake comments investigation
© Greg Nash

Eighteen attorneys general on Wednesday called on the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to hold off on the upcoming net neutrality vote pending an investigation into fake comments.

In a letter, the attorneys general asked Chairman Ajit Pai and the commissioners to “take immediate action” regarding the fake comments.

“A careful review of the publicly available information revealed a pattern of fake submissions using the names of real people,” the letter reads. “In fact, there may be over one million fake submissions from across the country. This is akin to identity theft on a massive scale — and theft of someone’s voice in a democracy is particularly concerning.”

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The letter is signed by attorneys general from Virginia, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Maine, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Washington and Vermont.

“It is essential that the Commission gets a full and accurate picture of how changes to net neutrality will affect the everyday lives of Americans before they can act on such sweeping policy changes,” the attorneys general write.

The letter comes after a separate letter from the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) said as many as 2 million comments regarding net neutrality filed to the commission were falsified.

“But, if the well of public comment has been poisoned by falsified submissions, the Commission may be unable to rely on public comments that would help it reach a legitimate conclusion to the Page 2 rulemaking process,” the 18 attorneys write.