Kathy Welsh

Kathy Welsh

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman released new details of his office’s investigation into fake comments submitted during the net neutrality comment process, with a new analysis showing that two million of the comments stole real Americans’ identities.

“Millions of fake comments have corrupted the FCC public process – including two million that stole the identities of real people, a crime under New York law,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Yet the FCC is moving full steam ahead with a vote based on this corrupted process, while refusing to cooperate with an investigation. As we’ve told the FCC: moving forward with this vote would make a mockery of our public comment process and reward those who perpetrated this fraud to advance their own hidden agenda. The FCC must postpone this vote and work with us to get to the bottom of what happened.”

To date, over 5,000 people have filed reports with the Attorney General’s office regarding identities used to submit fake comments to the Federal Communications Commission on the repeal of net neutrality, on which the FCC is scheduled to vote tomorrow, Dec. 14, 2017. People can check whether their identity was misused and report it to the Attorney General’s office at ag.ny.gov/FakeComments. Examples of the over 5,000 reports already submitted to the Attorney General’s office can be found below.

Attorney General Schneiderman’s latest analysis shows that as many as two million comments misused the identities of real Americans, including over 100,000 comments per state from New York, Florida, Texas, and California. A map can be found below, highlighting the number of fake comments submitted using stolen identities by state.

Despite widespread evidence that the public comment process was corrupted, the FCC’s General Counsel has said that the agency will not cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation into the impersonation of New Yorkers, and that it will move forward with tomorrow’s scheduled vote.

In a new letter to the FCC, Attorney General Schneiderman directly rebuts the excuses for refusing to cooperate with an investigation of illegal conduct that could constitute, among other violations, criminal impersonation under New York law.

“Moving forward with this vote would make a mockery of the notice and comment process mandated by the Administrative Procedure Act and reward those who perpetrated this fraud in service of their own hidden agenda,” Attorney General Schneiderman wrote. “None of the assertions in your letter justify the FCC’s refusal to share evidence of who committed these illegal acts.”

Examples of Reports to Attorney General’s Office via ag.ny.gov/FakeComments

“This person is my aunt. She never filed this. She is an elderly woman; someone is using her identification.” – Bronx, NY

“This is a 13 year old child – she did not post this comment, nor did anyone else in her household.” – Rochester, NY

“This comment was made on July 11th, 2017. This is a fake comment… I am her son, and can confirm it was not her. [She] died of cancer on June 8th, 2017.” – Albany, NY

“I am a service member in the United States Navy. I was… on a flight from Bahrain to Boston at the time the comments were submitted.” – Florida

“This is my elderly mother’s information. I have verified with her that she did not submit this information.” – Ft. Meyers, FL

“My LATE husband’s name was fraudulently used after a valiant battle with cancer. This unlawful act adds to my pain that someone would violate his good name.” – Los Angeles, CA

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