Unlike legislative votes in Congress, concerned citizens don't have a local senator to complain to, and the FCC's comment process has left a lot to be desired.
Under the open internet rules passed two years ago, ISPs are required to abide by the principles of net neutrality: The companies are required to offer consumers equal access to online content and services and are prohibited from blocking or slowing traffic to websites at their discretion.
Schneiderman said his office's own review of the public filings showed about 1 million comments might have used names that were in fact stolen identities. A statement from the FCC chairman even claims that scrapping net neutrality protections is to keep the government from micromanaging the internet.
Although industry groups supporting Chairman Pai agree that, under his watch, the security and integrity of the commenting processing has been deeply compromised, Pai has publicly dismissed Schneiderman's investigation, calling it a "transparent attempt by a partisan supporter of the Obama Administration's heavy-handed Internet regulations to gain publicity for himself". Before entering public service, Rosenworcel practiced communications law at Drinker Biddle & Reath.
The Attorney General's Office has been investigating the cases for six months.
According to Schneiderman, the net neutrality feedback process generated more than 23 million total comments, marking an unprecedented level of participation.
Senators urge FCC to delay net neutrality vote
The FCC received nearly 23 million comments since last spring, when Pai first made it clear he would review the FCC's framework for its net neutrality rules, Variety reported. Last month, Schneiderman criticized the FCC for its failure to cooperate in his office's ongoing investigation into the fake comments, which it began in June, making repeated contacts to the FCC over the subsequent five months. "None", Schneiderman said in the letter to Pai.
Last week, on Wednesday, Attorney General Schneiderman launched a new webpage for New Yorkers to check whether their identities were wrongfully used without their consent.
"There's no way with this set of corrupted records...[we can] have a vote based on what the American people really think", Schneiderman said. There are multiple reports that the comments include fake ones, perhaps made by bots. But Schneiderman said that "unless we get the information from the FCC, it's anecdotal evidence".
A spokesperson for the FCC said, "At today's press conference, they didn't identify a single comment relied upon in the draft order as being questionable".
But the FCC said it will stick to its December 14 plan to repeal the net neutrality rules that prevent Internet Service Providers from throttling or blocking content online, and prohibit ISPs from prioritizing some content over others, possibly for payment.
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".