While FCC’s refusal to address cybersecurity issues and fake comments creates intentional confusion around data, unique comments are overwhelmingly in favor of Title II net neutrality— by more than 73 to 1
Today, the telecom industry is touting a study funded by cable lobby group Broadband for America regarding the millions of comments submitted to the FCC’s public docket surrounding the agency’s plan to gut Title II net neutrality rules that prevent companies like AT&T and Verizon from charging extra fees, throttling apps and services, and censoring online content.
The most telling statistic in the report is that the unique comments in the docket – the ones that people took the extra time to write themselves – are overwhelmingly in favor of Title II net neutrality protections, by more than 73 to 1.
So the telecom industry’s own study essentially shows what nearly all other polling on this issue has shown: that they are getting trounced when it comes to public opinion, and people from across the political spectrum overwhelmingly agree that they don’t want their ISPs to have control over what they can see and do on the Internet.
The report also highlights that the data in the FCC docket is a mess. Fight for the Future has been working with a group of tech volunteers to analyze this data as well, and will be releasing our findings soon.
Much of the reporting on this study draws a false equivalence between real comments from real people gathered through grassroots activism campaigns with massive public participation – and completely fraudulent comments that use names and addresses from breached databases, or completely fake information.
Sadly, this confusion appears to be by design. Under Ajit Pai’s leadership, the FCC has repeatedly refused to address serious cybersecurity and transparency issues surrounding their public comment process, from the now debunked claims of DDoS attacks to the confirmed fraudulent comments that the agency won’t remove from its docket.
The agency is sabotaging the legitimacy of its own proceeding in a cynical attempt to spread confusion about something that is actually as clear as day: the majority of the voices calling for the end of net neutrality protections are those bought and paid for by the industry that stands to gain unprecedented control of our online experience if they succeed in rigging the game and gutting these consumer protections at the FCC or through bad legislation billed as a "compromise."