Press Release

Attorney General Josh Shapiro Asks FCC to Delay Vote to Rollback Net Neutrality

December 13, 2017 | Topic: Rights

18 Attorneys General Cite Huge Amount of Fake Comments in Asking FCC to Delay Vote Tomorrow

HARRISBURG — Citing a large volume of fake comments to the Federal Communications Commission on its proposal to rollback net neutrality, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and 17 other Attorneys General today asked the FCC to delay a pivotal vote tomorrow until federal and state investigations into the fake comments can be conducted.

“I’m very concerned that a pattern of fake comments using the names of real people is being used to undermine net neutrality and the legitimacy of the FCC’s process,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “Given all the tainted comments, I’m asking the Federal Communications Commission to delay the vote tomorrow to rollback net neutrality until we get to the bottom of these fake comments.”

“I’ve launched a website, and want Pennsylvanians’ help to see if their identities were used to falsely send comments to the FCC,” Shapiro said. “We’ll review all the information reported and determine whether any laws were violated.”

The letter from the 18 Attorneys General, which can be found here, was signed by the Attorneys General of Pennsylvania, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont and Washington.

“A careful review of the publicly available information revealed a pattern of fake submissions using the names of real people. In fact, there may be over one million fake submissions from across the country. This is akin to identity theft on a massive scale – and theft of someone’s voice in a democracy is particularly concerning,” wrote the Attorneys General.

The Attorneys General letter concluded:  “It is essential that the Commission gets a full and accurate picture of how changes to net neutrality will affect the everyday lives of Americans before they can act on such sweeping policy changes.”

In Pennsylvania, Attorney General Shapiro took further action by issuing a video message on social media asking Pennsylvanians to alert his office if their information – including name, address and other personal data – was inappropriately used to submit fake comments.

In the video, Attorney General Shapiro details his reasons for wanting to see net neutrality preserved, and then asked Pennsylvanians to visit to see if their identities were compromised during the FCC comments period.

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