Fake Net Neutrality Comments Spark Call For Investigation

When the FCC voted to overturn net neutrality against a tide of public comments urging otherwise, some of those comments were made under false pretenses or even involved identity theft, prompting two US Senators under whose name such comments were published to call on the FCC to investigate. Senators Jeff Merkley and Pat Toomey, a democrat from Oregon and a Republican from Pennsylvania respectively, had their identities stolen to file fake comments regarding net neutrality, two of up to a possible two million comments made fraudulently. The two senators penned a letter to FCC chairman Ajit Pai asking for a full investigation into the matter.

The vast number of comments on the net neutrality issue are enough criteria to consider the possibility of comments made under fake identities or otherwise fraudulently, but Ajit Pai himself said that part of the reason he and his administration were outright ignoring public comments was because of that possibility. Even so, no investigation was ever carried out, and no effort was ever made to figure out how many of the comments on the issue were authentic, or where the fake ones had come from. This is exactly the kind of investigation the two senators want, along with answers to several questions. Namely, the senators want to know if the FCC knew of any foreign government interference, if the FCC is working with authorities to figure out whether any laws were broken, how the FCC plans to trace false comments, if the FCC has considered using CAPTCHA to verify comments in the future, and how it plans to prevent things like this going forward.

The battle over net neutrality has been riddled with controversy at every turn. Most recently, a number individual states have begun working on their own versions of net neutrality laws and the US Senate forced a vote on the issue using a rule pertaining to the Congressional Review Act. Thus far, none of the state-level bills have been signed into law yet, and though the Senate's measure passed the Senate, it's still bound for a Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a President who is strongly avowed to defeat Title II Net Neutrality regulations. The move has been called political grandstanding, but it may yet serve its purpose if it brings more people to the polls in November.

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