Group accuses Comcast of trying to 'censor' pro-net neutrality site

Group accuses Comcast of trying to 'censor' pro-net neutrality site

Comcast has sent a cease-and-desist letter to an advocacy group asking it to shut down a website set up to promote net neutrality.

Fight for the Future created Comcastroturf.com to urge supporters to comment in favor of the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules, which are in the process of being repealed.

On Tuesday, the group posted a letter from LookingGlass Cyber, which says it represents Comcast, arguing that the website is in violation of laws prohibiting domain names “confusingly similar” to trademarked names.

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Evan Greer, Fight for the Future’s campaign director, disputed the assessment and accused Comcast of trying to censor the group’s advocacy on net neutrality.

“If [FCC Chairman] Ajit Pai’s plan is enacted, there would be nothing preventing Comcast from simply blocking sites like Comcastroturf.com that are critical of their corporate policies,” Greer said in a statement. 

“It also makes you wonder what Comcast is so afraid of? Are their lobbying dollars funding the astroturfing effort flooding the FCC with fake comments that we are encouraging Internet users to investigate?”

“Comcast supports strong, legally enforceable net neutrality rules and does not and will not block websites or content," Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice said in a statement. "Title II does not equal net neutrality. Like most major brand owners, Comcast protects our company and brand names from being used improperly on the Internet by third parties."

"This particular site also raised other legal issues supporting further investigation (for example, the site appears to collect personal information and has no posted privacy policy)," she added. "After reviewing the site further, we do not plan additional action at this time.”

The FCC has started proceedings to undo the net neutrality rules, which require internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally. Broadband companies such as Comcast oppose the rules because they open the industry up to tougher regulation.

The Comcastroturf site was created to draw attention to what appears to be an influx of fraudulent anti-net neutrality comments on the proposal's docket. The advocacy group suggested telecom companies like Comcast were behind the fake comments.

Fight for the Future said that it would not be taking the website down and that it would welcome the chance to make its case in court.

Updated 5:12 p.m.