Fight for the Future praises letter from ranking member of House Energy & Commerce Oversight Committee calling for investigation into hundreds of thousands of fake anti-net neutrality comments
Ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Committee Frank Pallone Jr (D-NJ) sent a letter to the FBI and Department of Justice this morning calling for law enforcement agencies to investigate the flood of fraudulent anti-net neutrality comments that have been submitted into the FCC’s docket using real people’s names and addresses without their permission.
Fight for the Future, a leading digital rights group that has been helping Internet users investigate the fake comments through their Comcastroturf.com campaign, and who helped facilitate a letter to the FCC from dozens of individuals whose had their personal information used to submit comments without their consent, issued the following statement, which can be attributed to campaign director, Evan Greer (pronouns: she/her):
The FCC under Ajit Pai’s leadership has repeatedly refused to meaningfully address the very serious issue of fake anti-net neutrality comments submitted into its docket using stolen names and addresses. It’s only right that lawmakers are now stepping in and calling for an investigation.
Regardless of their views on the FCC’s proceeding, every member of Congress should be concerned if their constituents’ identities are being stolen and used to submit comments to a Federal Agency without their permission, in ways that violate federal law and the privacy rights of the individuals affected.
The public needs to know who has been attempting to distort the record with these fraudulent comments, whether they were funded by the telecom companies that stand to benefit from the FCC’s attack on net neutrality protections, and whether leadership at the FCC knew about the operation and willfully decided to allow it to continue.
Federal Agencies have a responsibility to employ basic cybersecurity practices and act transparently to ensure that public comment proceedings have integrity and allow for meaningful input from the public. At this point, the FCC has clearly failed to maintain that integrity in this latest net neutrality proceeding. Members of Congress should work across the aisle to ensure that the agency addresses these serious cybersecurity issues before moving forward with an unpopular plan to dismantle consumer protections
Fight for the Future is also one of the main organizations behind the massive July 12 Internet-Wide Day of Action for Net Neutrality, which has attracted a wide range of prominent supporters including Amazon, Netflix, Twitter, Kickstarter, Etsy, Mozilla, Reddit, Pornhub, Soundcloud, and Vimeo. The group has been a leading voice calling for transparency and investigations into cybersecurity issues as the FCC for several months, and has compiled significant evidence of what appears to be a sophisticated astroturfing organization that is attempting to create the false impression of grassroots opposition to net neutrality protections.
Fight for the Future is a digital rights group best known for organizing some of the largest online protests in history including the SOPA Blackout, Internet Slowdown, Reset the Net, and Rock Against the TPP. Learn more at https://www.fightforthefuture.org or follow us on Twitter @fightfortheftr