Net neutrality protests, coming to a Verizon store near you this Thursday

FCC chairman: Stop harassing my family over net neutrality

"This is akin to identity theft on a massive scale", he said.

But the FCC said it will stick to its December 14 plan to repeal the net neutrality rules that prevent Internet Service Providers from throttling or blocking content online, and prohibit ISPs from prioritizing some content over others, possibly for payment.

There is fear that could lead to higher prices and less access to the internet.

"Federal law guarantees every American a voice in this process", Schneiderman said during a New York City press conference Monday.

The FCC does not require commenters to verify their identity, and features on the FCC website allow multiple comments to be uploaded from the same computer at once. The August study by researcher Emprata found that among the sliver of comments that were unique, non-form letters, more (1.77 million) were against the repeal than for the repeal (24,000). And the son of a woman from Albany contacted Schneiderman's office, he said, to report that she had passed away a month before the comment was submitted. The same language was also used in other comments submitted to the FCC under other people's names. These reports raise serious concerns as to whether the record the FCC is now relying on has been tampered with and merits the full attention of, and investigation by, the FCC before votes on this item are cast.

Schneiderman was joined on stage by democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, an Obama-era appointee who was reappointed by the Trump administration.

The FCC, composed of three Republicans and two Democrats, is widely expected to kill net neutrality in favor of what Pai and the Republicans call "light-touch regulation". Adding to the already record-breaking number of public comments submitted to the FCC over the last several months, more than 760,000 calls have flooded congressional phone lines since November 21, according to Battle for the Net. Without additional information about the alleged anomalies surrounding the public record, the FCC can not conduct a thorough and fair evaluation of the public's views on this topic, and should not move forward with a vote on December 14, 2017.

Citing the findings of Schneiderman's office and other researchers, the senators wrote, "These reports raise serious concerns as to whether the record the FCC is now relying on has been tampered with and merits the full attention of, and investigation by, the FCC before votes on this item are cast".

"[It is] incumbent upon the FCC and all of my colleagues to stand back, figure out what's in this record before us and get to the bottom of these stolen identities", said Rosenworcel.

In an open letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai last month, Schneiderman wrote that the FCC's public comments website had been deeply "corrupted", and that his office had uncovered "enormous numbers of fake comments concerning the possible repeal of net neutrality rules".

Based on Schneiderman's investigation, residents of California, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas may have also had their personal information used to submit comments on net neutrality, Rosenworcel said.

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