New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has confirmed previous reports that millions of public comments on the FCC's plan to revoke net neutrality rules were fraudulently submitted under stolen identities, many with the names of deceased people.
"Millions of fake comments have corrupted the FCC public process—including two million that stole the identities of real people, a crime under New York law," Schneiderman said in an announcement today. "Yet the FCC is moving full steam ahead with a vote based on this corrupted process, while refusing to cooperate with an investigation."
Schneiderman, who has put together a website where people can check to see if a comment was made in their name, cited a handful of people who determined the names of their dead loved ones had been used:
"My LATE husband's name was fraudulently used after a valiant battle with cancer," one person told the AG's office. "This unlawful act adds to my pain that someone would violate his good name."
"This comment was made under my mom's name," another person said. "She passed away several years ago from cancer. This is sickening."
Another person quoted by Schneiderman's announcement said a comment was posted in their father's name "more than a year AFTER HIS DEATH!!!"
The number of fake comments has continued to increase as Schneiderman's investigation proceeds, but the A.G. reports that the FCC remains uncooperative with his efforts.
Schneiderman's office started investigating fraudulent comments about six months ago, but says the FCC has refused to turn over key evidence. Last week, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's office questioned whether the fraudulent comments actually violate New York law, and whether Schneiderman has any authority to demand evidence.
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel called for a delay in the vote until the investigation is finalized.
This is crazy. Two million people have had their identities stolen in an effort to corrupt our public record. Nineteen Attorneys General from across the country have asked us to delay this vote so they can investigate. And yet, in less than 24 hours we are scheduled to vote on wiping out our net neutrality protections. We should not vote on any item that is based on this corrupt record. I call on my colleagues to delay this vote so we can get to the bottom of this mess.