A group of twenty-seven senators have sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai demanding he delay next week’s vote to repeal net neutrality rules after an investigation revealed that millions of comments in the agency’s public comment system are fake or fraudulent.
“A free and open Internet is vital to ensuring a level playing field online, and we believe that your proposed action may be based on an incomplete understanding of the public record in this proceeding,” the senators wrote in the letter. “In fact, there is good reason to believe that the record may be replete with fake or fraudulent comments, suggesting that your proposal is fundamentally flawed.”
The group, led by Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), included Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
The Hill added:
The FCC will vote on Dec. 14 to scrap the Obama-era rules that prevent internet service providers from discriminating against certain content. The agency was flooded nearly 22 million comments, a record, when it sought public input on Pai’s plan to repeal the rules.
The letter cited New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s investigation into fake comments filed with the FCC on net neutrality. Schneiderman said last month that his office had found that “tens of thousands” of New York residents may have been impersonated by fake commenters.
The senators also noted that 50,000 net neutrality consumer complaints may not have been included in the public record.
“A transparent and open process is vitally important to how the FCC functions,” the letter reads. “The FCC must invest its time and resources into obtaining a more accurate picture of the record as understanding that record is essential to reaching a defensible resolution to this proceeding.”