Bipartisan letter shows increasing concern from GOP about the FCC’s repeal of open Internet rules
Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), whose identities were stolen and used to submit fraudulent comments to the FCC during its issue-plagued net neutrality repeal proceeding, just sent a bipartisan letter to the chairman Ajit Pai, calling for a thorough investigation into the millions of fake messages that flooded the agency’s docket last year.
Fight for the Future, a digital rights group that was among the first to uncover the massive case of identity fraud, strongly supports this bipartisan request. Previously, the group organized a letter from dozens of people whose names and home addresses were used, without their knowledge or permission, to submit anti-net neutrality comments to the FCC.
"People are losing faith in their democracy. The FCC’s repeal of net neutrality is set to go into effect in a matter of weeks, despite the fact that the process around it has been riddled with serious issues of fraud and abuse that the agency has thus far refused to address," said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future (pronouns: she/her). "These Senators are asking exactly the right questions. Providing oversight for the FCC is Congress’ job. Every member of the House should sign the discharge petition for the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to block the repeal right now, to ensure that these essential protections for Internet users and small businesses remain in place while a thorough investigation into these fraudulent comments can take place."
The bipartisan letter highlights increasing scrutiny from Republicans lawmakers, who have been under tremendous pressure to denounce the FCC’s repeal, which was opposed by the overwhelming majority of GOP and Independent voters. Last week in a historic upset, three GOP Senators voted in support of a Senate CRA resolution to block the FCC’s repeal. A handful of House Reps have previously criticized the agency’s decision. Net neutrality supporters plan to wage a fierce battle to force a vote in the House in the coming months.