New York Attorney General Releases Fake FCC Comment-Finding Tool


By now, you’ve probably heard something about the impending reversal of net neutrality regulations by the FCC. From when the FCC first announced the proposal to the situation we’re facing today, the issue has been, and continues to be, fraught with controversy. The FCC has apparently used a number of tactics to both limit the apparent backlash against and feign support for its proposals.

When an episode of Last Week Tonight incited a massive fury of comments that took down the FCC’s website, the FCC claimed instead that it had been targeted by a DDOS attack orchestrated by net neutrality supporters. Later, Redditors found a large amount of bot-submitted comments in the FCC database supporting net neutrality repeal. People who had found that their identity had been used to submit fraudulent comments penned an open letter to the FCC asking for an investigation.

In his own letter to the FCC, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman revealed that the FCC has probably not begun any investigation of its own and has also stone-walled external investigation. Schneiderman said his office began investigating the fraudulent comments six months ago after it discovered that a number of comments were posted with the identities of New Yorkers. As Schneiderman states in his letter to FCC chairman Ajit Pai:

We reached out for assistance to multiple top FCC officials, including you, three successive acting FCC General Counsels, and the FCC’s Inspector General. We offered to keep the requested records confidential, as we had done when my office and the FCC shared information and documents as part of past investigative work.

Yet we have received no substantive response to our investigative requests. None.

In order to support its investigation, the Office of the Attorney General has released a tool to help New Yorkers find out if their identity has been used to post a fraudulent comment on the FCC’s website. The search on the FCC website can take a while, and it may appear unresponsive, but it will return a result eventually. If an individual finds that their name is associated with fraudulent comments, they can use the link to submit a claim. Schneiderman’s responsibility is to the people of New York, but the tool will work the same for anyone.

If you’re not a New Yorker, you can use a similar tool that helps you submit a real comment to the FCC. Whichever tool you use, and whether or not you find that your identity has been misused, we at Tom’s Hardware strongly urge you to join the fight for net neutrality.

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  • mihen
    I am against net neutrality. Changing Communication companies from title 1 to title 2 gives the FCC a lot of power to censor the internet. It also does not require the FCC to create a Net Neutrality rule. As written in 2015 it gave the FCC regulatory power that supports the worst of croni-capitalism with vague guidelines that are difficult to comply to. It would also make networks freakishly slow to block certain traffic for certain users as is fear-mongered currently. After all it takes hundreds of milliseconds to reference a database on every single packet verse a universal IP check like what happens now with throttling or unlimited data.
  • wiyosaya
    Anonymous said:
    I am against net neutrality. Changing Communication companies from title 1 to title 2 gives the FCC a lot of power to censor the internet. It also does not require the FCC to create a Net Neutrality rule. As written in 2015 it gave the FCC regulatory power that supports the worst of croni-capitalism with vague guidelines that are difficult to comply to. It would also make networks freakishly slow to block certain traffic for certain users as is fear-mongered currently. After all it takes hundreds of milliseconds to reference a database on every single packet verse a universal IP check like what happens now with throttling or unlimited data.

    And yet without those rules, Comcast already throttled Netflix content until Netflix paid an additional "fee" so that Comcast would not throttle their content.
  • mihen
    That's a universal throttling where they would only need to do 1 check per packet. How it's sold right now, the fear is that ISPs will make service packs to access certain sites. Without the site being connected directly to the ISPs network, it would be very slow to check who the packet is from, where it is going, and if they are allowed to receive the packet.
    Doing such a thing can also create public backlash like what happened with games in the mid to late 2000s and peer to peer networking this decade. Or backlash from licensing deals with other companies like Cogent or L3 Networks.