The Curious Case of FCC Net Neutrality Comments
Any proposal for the change, creation or removal of rules that the FCC is going to bring for a vote must have a period for public comments. The purpose of the public comments is for people to voice support for or against the proposal and to provide a substantive legal argument for or against the proposal.
What’s curious about the Net Neutrality comments is that of the 22 million comments more than one million were from bots in support of repealing Net Neutrality. Where these comments get interesting is that the names and addresses of dead people and people that never entered a comment themselves somehow showed up on the FCC website.
Despite 50 Mayors, some internet service providers, tech companies such as Google, Twitter, and Reddit, and the majority of the US population (~60% in multiple polls) being in support of Net Neutrality FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is determined to kill Net Neutrality. The reason for the FCC ignoring the voice of the people is because of the volume of comments from the spam bots effectively allowing the FCC to disregard nearly all comments.
An official from the FCC spoke to reporters and gave this explanation – The vast majority of comments consisted of form letters from both pro- and anti-net neutrality groups and generally did not introduce new facts into the record or make serious legal arguments. In general, the comments stated opinions or made assertions and did not have much bearing on Pai’s decision. The official spoke on the condition that he not be named and his comments can be paraphrased but not quoted directly.
To add insult to injury, the FCC has refused to work with law enforcement to investigate the fraudulent comments and identify theft that happened as a result of the bogus comments. Karl Bode, a writer for DSLReports[.]com, states that “Critics have charged that the FCC failed to investigate or hinder bogus comments because the fraud undermined trust in the validity of the comment process, helping to downplay and discredit the massive genuine opposition to the FCC’s plan. If the fake comments were the work of an ISP-tied think tank or policy organization (such activity is certainly historically within their wheelhouse), the industry-cozy FCC also likely has a vested interest in not aiding anybody trying to document such a connection.”
It appears Pai’s regime may have had some hand in the comments fiasco, after all, Pai is a former Verizon attorney, and is ignoring the problem thinking that they are getting with repealing Net Neutrality, but fortunately for us, there are lawsuits on the horizon.