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Are we about to see the end of net neutrality?

05 December, 2017, 02:38 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Trump's FCC chair shuts down celebrities pushing net neutrality conspiracy theory

NY attorney general Eric Schneiderman, FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, and 28 senators want the FCC to delay its upcoming net neutrality vote, giving investigators more time to look into a spate of fake public comments submitted under real peoples' names.

South Dakota Senator John Thune says he is hearing about it.... The new FCC policy, according to chairman and director Ajit Pai, will instead "require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that's best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate". Pai, who was appointed by Trump to lead the FCC, has argued that "these heavy-handed regulations" restrict internet service providers and make it harder for providers to build out their networks, he said in a statement last month.

"[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.

On Monday, Schneiderman estimated that, in addition to swarms of computer-generated names, as many as 1 million comments were submitted using real people's identities without their knowledge.

More: Net Neutrality comments were a record.

Schneiderman cited reports that that half a million of the comments appear to have been filed from Russian email addresses, a fact that net neutrality advocates likely hope will stoke further public interest in the often dry proceedings of the communications regulatory body.

As the FCC prepares to vote to repeal net neutrality rules December 14, opponents are trying their hardest to fight till the end.

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.

Pai's plan "removes bright-line rules based on bipartisan principles, embraced by Republican and Democratic FCC chairmen over the last two decades", Eshoo said.

"They just have to stop this vote", Schneiderman said at a press conference. "This is a big step but given the FCC's conduct over the past eight months we remain skeptical", Schneiderman said.

Meanwhile, an FCC member called on the commission to delay a scheduled December 14 vote on repealing net neutrality rules enacted under the Obama administration until an investigation can be completed. Over 23 million comments were submitted to the FCC, but allegations of fraud and fake comments have destroyed the integrity of that process, enabling the FCC to ignore public feedback.

As Republicans now hold a majority of the FCC's five seats, the order to repeal the net neutrality rules is expected to pass. Twenty-eight USA senators have asked that the vote be postponed due to the allegations of fraud dismissed by Chairman Pai.

"One of the arguments is the government shouldn't get involved in the Internet", said Anthony Martino, director of Northeast Cyber Security and Forensic Center at Utica College.

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