NY AG Report Finds 18 Million FCC Net Neutrality Comments Wrong

Before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) votes for at the end of 2017, the agency gathered public opinion on the policy. In total, he said he received nearly 22 million comments. Over the years, there has been quite a bit of discussion about the origin of many of these from that same year, suggesting that only six percent of comments were unique.

After years of investigation, the Office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James released a on exactly what happened in 2017. The investigation revealed that the “biggest” broadband companies had funded a covert astroturf campaign to push the FCC to repeal net neutrality. At the time, AT&T, Comcast, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon (Engadget’s parent company) were in favor of repealing the policy. The industry hired several third-party companies to gain public support for their decision. Apparently, these companies were supposed to convince people to support the broadband industry with incentives like gift cards and prizes. Instead, they simply submitted 8.5 million bogus comments. The attorney general fined three of the companies involved in sending the comments $ 4.4 million.

On the other hand, the FCC received an additional 9.3 million false comments in favor of maintaining net neutrality. According to the report, most of them were from a single student, who was 19 at the time. They used automated software to generate the responses. In total, of the more than 22 million comments the FCC received on this matter, James claims more than 18 million were false. In other words, more than 80% of the contributions collected by the agency to inform its decision did not come from real people.

“The public record should be a place for honest dialogue, but today’s report shows how the record informing the FCC’s repeal of Net Neutrality has been inundated with fraud,” said in a statement to Engadget. “It was troubling at the time because even then the pervasive issues with the balance sheet were obvious. We need to learn from these lessons and improve ourselves because the public deserves an open and fair opportunity to tell Washington what they think about the policies that affect their lives. . “

Under , the FCC has frequently fought any attempt to remedy the flawed Net Neutrality commenting process. At the start of the state’s investigation, former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman berated the agency for failing to help his office investigate the case. Even as recently as last year, the FCC has been fighting delivery of IP addresses that would verify the source of the comments.

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