Net Neutrality vote must wait until conclusion of comment investigation, Schneiderman says

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Net neutrality is facing a showdown at the FCC on December 14, and despite plans for numerous protests of support for the current rules, Chairman Ajit Pai's office said these "desperate" measures will not delay the vote.

Twenty-seven Senators are urging the Federal Communications Commission to postpone its vote on repealing net neutrality rules.

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. "This is akin to identity theft on a massive scale", he said.

On Monday, Schneiderman estimated that, in addition to swarms of computer-generated names, as many as 1 million comments were submitted using real people's identities without their knowledge.

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It seems that the public letter-writing trend is catching on, with 28 United States senators now co-signing a letter to the FCC officially asking the commission to delay their December 14th vote.

"If fact, there is good reason to believe that the record may be replete with fake or fraudulent comments suggesting that your proposal is fundamentally flawed", the letter said.

The chairman's office did not respond when asked for comment on the calls to delay the net neutrality vote.

He also called on the FCC to delay a planned December 14 vote on chairman Ajit Pai's proposal to roll back numerous existing rules, which now ban internet providers from blocking or throttling traffic, or from selling "fast lanes" so content providers can reach consumers more quickly.

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"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.

Schneiderman accused the FCC of "stonewalling" on the investigation, although he said that the FCC inspector general had recently offered to help.

As Republicans now hold a majority of the FCC's five seats, the order to repeal the net neutrality rules is expected to pass. Twenty-eight USA senators have asked that the vote be postponed due to the allegations of fraud dismissed by Chairman Pai.

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. An FCC spokesperson previously dismissed the complaints as "nothing more than a transparent attempt by a partisan supporter of the Obama Administration's heavy-handed internet regulations to gain publicity for himself". Speaking at a conference in February, he said that two years after the rules were put it in place, "it is evident that the FCC made a mistake (which) injected tremendous uncertainty into the broadband market, and uncertainty is the enemy of growth". The FCC needs to get to the bottom of this mess.

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Based on Schneiderman's investigation, residents of California, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas may have also had their personal information used to submit comments on net neutrality, Rosenworcel said.

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