So far, the FCC has refused to cooperate with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s investigation into identity theft during the commenting period on net neutrality repeal. So Schneiderman is using the internet to find the evidence, and he needs help.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. (Photo: Getty)
On November 21, Schneiderman wrote an open letter to the FCC that claimed the process for considering public comments while it deliberated the repeal of US net neutrality protections under Title II of the Communications Act was “corrupted by the fraudulent use of Americans’ identities”. The FCC is required by law to review public comments for a certain period of time before it votes. Studies have found that the majority of Americans support Title II protections. Still, there were a ton of comments – many of them using the same language – that supported the repeal. Data scientist Jeff Kao recently released a study that found 1.3 million of the comments were likely fake. And numerous people have come forward to say their name was used without their knowledge.
Schneiderman is focused on the state of New York and he says that his office found tens of thousands of New Yorkers whose names may have been fraudulently used. He also acknowledges that its a major problem in other US states. Still, the FCC won’t work with him to enforce the law. So, the AG’s office has built a tool to help gather that info through good old-fashioned crowdsourcing.
The FCC’s website isn’t particularly user-friendly. Back in May, John Oliver famously registered “GoFCCYourself.com” to help people navigate to the agency’s public comment page. When it comes to finding those comments now, getting to the FCC’s search page isn’t intuitive. Once you do track it down, there are more than a dozen search fields. Schneiderman’s page has one search field for people’s names, and a button to click to report that their name has been used fraudulently. The search results show all US states. Victims can find their state attorney general on this list, and let them know.
The net neutrality repeal is coming on December 14. Americans might as well use this page before their ISPs throttle the hell out of it.