If so, and if the FCC rolls back the net neutrality rules December 14, then neither the FTC nor the FCC will have the authority to regulate broadband providers. His office suspects that as many as a million of those comments are linked to stolen identities, including a 13 year old who never submitted a comment, a recently deceased woman and the office of the Attorney General's own assistant press secretary. "This is akin to identity theft on a massive scale".
Schneiderman had argued that "hundreds of thousands of identical anti-net neutrality comments under the names and addresses of unwitting Americans" constitutes illegal impersonation and misuse of a person's identity.
Schneiderman says his office requested the actual comments records from the FCC numerous times but so far the FCC has not complied.
A data firm backed by a telecom industry group found in August that the overwhelming majority of about 1.8 million comments to the FCC favored net neutrality, compared with 24,000 who supported its repeal.
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat appointed by President Obama who supports keeping the current regulations, said that almost a half-million comments before the FCC were filed from Russian email addresses, and that 50,000 consumer complaints are missing from the record. According to the sources, Chairman Pai's staff had expressed concern that any attempt to block fraudulent comments would result in accusations that Pai was trying to censor net neutrality advocates.
He also called on the FCC to delay a planned December 14 vote on chairman Ajit Pai's proposal to roll back numerous existing rules, which now ban internet providers from blocking or throttling traffic, or from selling "fast lanes" so content providers can reach consumers more quickly.
Schneiderman was joined on stage by democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, an Obama-era appointee who was reappointed by the Trump administration. "Given the enormous danger to consumers of losing all protections should the Ninth Circuit decide to affirm the panel decision and side with AT&T Mobility, the FCC should delay a vote until the en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit issues its decision", the letter said.
A spokesperson for the FCC said, "At today's press conference, they didn't identify a single comment relied upon in the draft order as being questionable". While Pai contends the regulations were hurting ISPs, opponents say it crucially prevented them from imposing restrictive measures such as speed throttling or content preference. The FCC needs to get to the bottom of this mess.
"This is just evidence that supporters of heavy-handed Internet regulations are becoming more desperate by the day as their effort to defeat Chairman Pai's plan to restore Internet freedom has stalled".
Demonstrations against Pai's plan have also taken place online.