Although Schneiderman said he has received more than 3,200 complaints, including 350 in NY, from those who say comments were made in their or a relative's name without their consent, the FCC is refusing to provide any records or data to help with the investigation. For decades, it has served as the medium by which many people around the globe have connected and learned from each other and in its wake, technology has expanded dozens of times over to facilitate these connections via email, instant messaging and now video calling.
As stated in the letter, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has spent the past 6 months performing an investigation of his own regarding the comments in question, with his findings largely reflecting Kao's. "But my office's investigation found that this process was deeply corrupted - with one million comments that may have been submitted using real people's stolen identities", said Attorney General Schneiderman.
Schneiderman accused the FCC of "stonewalling" on the investigation, although he said that the FCC inspector general had recently offered to help. The Pew Research Center found that 57% of comments submitted to the FCC regarding the upcoming net neutrality vote used temporary or duplicate email addresses.
She urged the FCC to halt the vote "until we can get to the bottom of what happened to those stolen identities and the quality of our public record". "The FCC chairman and his staff have responded by stonewalling".
A spokesperson for Pai said the comments being investigated had little sway over the chairman's decision.
Citing the findings of Schneiderman's office and other researchers, the senators wrote, "These reports raise serious concerns as to whether the record the FCC is now relying on has been tampered with and merits the full attention of, and investigation by, the FCC before votes on this item are cast". "In less than a week, we've received over 3,000 responses from across the country".
The FCC, composed of three Republicans and two Democrats, is widely expected to kill net neutrality in favor of what Pai and the Republicans call "light-touch regulation".
The Attorney General's Office has been investigating the cases for six months.
"This is unacceptable", Rosenworcel, who supports the net neutrality rules, said on Monday. The order effectively abdicates the commission's authority to regulate internet service providers (ISPs), such as Comcast and Verizon. The current net neutrality rules, approved during the Obama administration, barred internet providers from deliberately speeding up or slowing down traffic to or from specific websites and apps.
The FCC is set to repeal net neutrality in a vote on December 14th, but its comment period - which is meant to give the public a voice in the process - has been beset with problems. "The FCC created a gap in terms of privacy...so by removing Title II classification of ISPs by saying they are no longer common carriers, we return all that jurisdiction to the FTC...allowing them to protect consumers when they go online", Pai said.