A government agency is investigating the fake comments and stolen identities being used to comment on various federal agencies proposal–—including ones used ahead of the Federal Communications Commission‘s (FCC) repeal of net neutrality rules.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) will investigate the fake comments after several members of Congress approached them in December to do so. The GAO responded that they intend to investigate the comments “in about five months.”
The FCC voted in December to repeal net neutrality rules. Net neutrality is a founding principle of the internet that ensures that all internet traffic is treated equally.
However, investigations have found that millions of fake comments were left during the public comment period before the FCC’s vote, leading Senate members, attorneys general, and several lawmakers to openly question the validity of the agency’s vote to repeal net neutrality.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been leading a charge to investigate the fake comments and said he has found at least 2 million comments were left on the FCC’s website using the names of Americans who did not write them.
He has also set up a website where people can see if their names were used fraudulently to leave comments.
“I’m pleased that the U.S. Government Accountability Office agreed to also investigate these comments,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “My office will continue our investigation into this potential impersonation, which is a crime under New York law. The FCC’s decision to move ahead with its vote last month, despite widespread evidence of corruption, made a mockery of our public comment process and rewarded those who perpetrated fraud in order to advance their own agenda.”
Schneiderman is also among 22 attorneys generals who have filed a lawsuit against the FCC for repealing net neutrality.
Congress is attempting to overturn the FCC’s decision by using the Congressional Review Act. Currently, the Senate needs just one more Republican to sign onto the bill to have the votes needed to pass it.