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Net neutrality protests, coming to a Verizon store near you this Thursday

05 December 2017

"We want to weigh all comments and make sure that we take a full view of the record and again make the appropriate judgment based on those facts and the law as it applies".

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

"Without additional information about the alleged anomalies surrounding the public record, the FCC can not conduct a thorough and fair evaluation of the public's views on this topic, and should not move forward with a vote", Hassan and 27 other senators - including Sens.

In an open letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai published on the website Medium on November 21, Schneiderman said he was investigating a "massive scheme to corrupt the FCC's notice and comment process" through the use of fake public comments on the subject of net neutrality.

According to one report from data scientist Jeff Kao, over 1.3 million comments have been proven to be fraudulent in nature thus far, with many comments impersonating United States residents or using duplicate email addresses.

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With the FCC set to vote on chairman Ajit Pai's plan to kill neutrality in just over a week, a diverse coalition-ranging from consumer protection organizations to progressive lawmakers to Harvard professors-is denouncing the FCC's proposals and scheduling nationwide protests to combat the agency's move to let massive telecom companies "cash in on the internet" at the expense of consumers.

The 2015 rules changed the designation of internet service providers, or ISPs, usually big cable and telephone companies, so they were banned from blocking or throttling (slowing) legal content or from seeking payments to speed delivery of certain content, called "paid prioritization".

The other Democratic FCC commissioner, Mignon Clyburn, is calling attention to consumer complaints against ISPs over net neutrality.

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". Over the summer, the FCC was flooded with almost 22 million comments when it sought public input on the proposal.

Schneiderman said there are anecdotal reports of comments coming from dead people, children, fictional characters and Russian email addresses as well as from people whose names were used without their permission.

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Net neutrality has emerged as a complicated, partisan and contentious issue.

Schneiderman said his team "discovered lots of anecdotal evidence" that some of the comments left on the FCC website appeared to not be legitimate, which ultimately led to his office's investigation.

To this end, we request a thorough investigation by the FCC into reports that bots may have interfered with this proceeding by filing hundreds of thousands of comments.

"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.

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.

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Net neutrality protests, coming to a Verizon store near you this Thursday