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Was your identity stolen to post fake FCC comments? This site will tell you
Hundreds of thousands of Americans had their names and addresses stolen.
After the FCC rejected his request to investigate widespread identity theft, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman took matters into his own hands. The determined politician, with help of crowdsourcing, launched a webpage that tells U.S. citizens whether their identity was stolen to post comments in support of net neutrality repeal.
To find out if your identity, including your name, address, and zip code, was used in fake anti-net neutrality comments, head over to the New York State Attorney General’s “fake comments” webpage. Here, you’ll find a single search field. Enter your name and press “Search for Fake Comments.” You’ll then see all entries of people with your name who posted FCC comments. Press the comments to see more details. If your name and address are on a comment you didn’t post, go back and add it to the webpage, then reach out to your Attorney General and let them know. Note, this tool isn’t only for residents of New York.
Schneiderman and his team discovered, after reviewing more than 22 million comments posted to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) website, that at least “hundreds of thousands of Americans” had their identities stolen. Schneiderman claims to have reached out to multiple FCC officials nine times over five months to request logs and records related to the agency’s comment system but heard nothing back.
“[T]he process the FCC has employed to consider potentially sweeping alterations to current net neutrality rules has been corrupted by the fraudulent use of Americans’ identities—and the FCC has been unwilling to assist my office in our efforts to investigate this unlawful activity,” Schneiderman wrote in a November statement.
Data scientist Jeff Kao followed the research up with his own study, estimating 1.3 million comments are likely fake. Of the real, unique comments, he concludes more than 99 percent are in favor of net neutrality rules.
The FCC is scheduled to repeal net neutrality rules on Dec. 14, ending Obama-era regulations that demand telecom providers treat all internet traffic equally.
Phillip Tracy is a former technology staff writer at the Daily Dot. He's an expert on smartphones, social media trends, and gadgets. He previously reported on IoT and telecom for RCR Wireless News and contributed to NewBay Media magazine. He now writes for Laptop magazine.