In an open letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman slammed the agency for ignoring “a massive scheme to corrupt” the mandatory public comment process for Pai’s plan to dismantle net neutrality protections with new rules officially unveiled on Tuesday.
“The FCC has refused multiple requests for crucial evidence in its sole possession that is vital to permit that law enforcement investigation to proceed.”
—Eric Schneiderman, New York Attorney General
While open internet advocates have for months campaigned against Pai’s plan to turn over the web to corporate control, which often included form letters for the public comment process, Schneiderman launched an investigation after submissions started appearing from supposed supporters of the plan with personal information of people who said they had not submitted any comments.
“For six months my office has been investigating who perpetrated a massive scheme to corrupt the FCC’s notice and comment process through the misuse of enormous numbers of real New Yorkers’ and other Americans’ identities,” Schneiderman writes on Medium. “Such conduct likely violates state law — yet the FCC has refused multiple requests for crucial evidence in its sole possession that is vital to permit that law enforcement investigation to proceed.”
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Urging the FCC to reconsider its decision to refuse to assist with his investigation, Schneiderman concludes, “If law enforcement can’t investigate and (where appropriate) prosecute when it happens on this scale, the door is open for it to happen again and again.”
While defenders of the internet are mobilizing to stop the FCC changes from going through, the vote is now scheduled for December 14.
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