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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 MeeksTrump Jr., Dem congressman spar over Ellison's association with Farrakhan Ocasio-Cortez tiptoes into Washington New Dem star to rattle DC establishment MORE (D-N.Y.), Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsConservatives fume over format of upcoming Rosenstein interview Dems zero in on Trump’s alleged conflicts of interest Election Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue MORE (D-Md.) and Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneDems eye ambitious agenda if House flips Hillicon Valley: Facebook rift over exec's support for Kavanaugh | Dem worried about Russian trolls jumping into Kavanaugh debate | China pushes back on Pence House Democrat questions big tech on possible foreign influence in Kavanaugh debate 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.