New York AG subpoenas 14 companies in net neutrality comments probe: report

New York AG subpoenas 14 companies in net neutrality comments probe: report
© Greg Nash

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood (D) has subpoenaed more than a dozen companies and organizations as part of the state’s investigation into widespread fake public comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over net neutrality, according to The New York Times.

“The F.C.C.’s public comment process was corrupted by millions of fake comments,” Underwood said in a statement to the Times. “The law protects New Yorkers from deception and the misuse of their identities. My office will get to the bottom of what happened and hold accountable those responsible for using stolen identities to distort public opinion on net neutrality.”

Underwood sent subpoenas to telecommunications industry groups like Broadband for America and conservative groups such as Century Strategies and Media Bridge. Her office is also seeking documents from pro-net neutrality groups like Free Press and Fight for the Future.

The FCC received a record 22 million comments ahead of its decision to repeal the 2015 net neutrality rules requiring internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally.

Many suspected that the majority of the submissions were fraudulent, filed by automated bots, and some Democrats say it corrupted the process.

A recent study found that 800,000 of the submitted comments were unique, and that 99.7 percent of them were in favor of the 2015 open internet rules.