Justice Dept. investigating millions of fake anti-net neutrality comments: report

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is reportedly investigating millions of anti-net neutrality comments falsely attributed to individuals to see if any criminal action occurred.

BuzzFeed News reported Saturday that the DOJ has delivered subpoenas to at least two organizations after people's identities were posted without their permission.

The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) public comment process on proposed net neutrality restrictions has been mired in controversy over the past year.

The Obama-era rules prevented internet providers from choosing which web traffic gets to flow at full speed. The FCC voted 3-2 along party lines last year to scrap the rules.


An October study found that out of the 22 million comments posted, only 800,000 were unique and 99.7 percent of those were in favor of maintaining net neutrality.

Earlier this month, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai (R) said that it is a "fact" that half a million comments were submitted from Russian email addresses during the public comment period.

The New York attorney general's office began an investigation into the comments, but the Justice Department's reported involvement is the first known example of federal investigators getting involved.

The FCC did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment on Saturday.

The Supreme Court earlier this month refused to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling that upheld the 2015 regulations. The Trump administration and internet service providers had asked the justices to throw out the case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Still, the legal fight over the law is continuing in several states.

Multiple states implemented their own laws and regulations requiring internet service providers to operate by open internet principles after the push to repeal the federal rules. That prompted various legal challenges from the Trump administration and the industry.