New York Attorney General Letitia James has revealed that more than half of the comments received by the FCC in the lead up to the decision to repeal net neutrality were fake.
In 2017, under the direction of Ajit Pai, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to repeal net neutrality, the policy of ensuring that internet service providers treat all data equally. A key element of net neutrality is that ISP's cannot control one's internet experience either via slowing down speeds intentionally, prioritizing certain content, or other such actions.
As The Verge reports, the repeal of net neutrality has allowed ISP's to engage in the aforementioned behaviour, and since the FCC has "abdicated their authority over broadband", those effected have nowhere to go for help. They speak in particular of one case wherein the Santa Clara County Fire Department had their broadband "throttled" by Verizon during the worst forest fire in California history. With no FCC oversight, Verizon said they would only stop throttling the department's internet if they "paid more than double of what they were paying before for broadband."
Net neutrality put consumers over corporations thus it is not surprising that the latter would be in favour of repealing the policy. The New York AG's report shows that "nearly 18 million of the more than 22 million comments the FCC received during its 2017 rule-making were fake."
According to Fox News, "a $4.2 million effort funded by Broadband for America, which includes major internet providers like AT&T, Comcast and Charter, reportedly accounted for more than 8.5 million of the fake FCC comments." They add that "millions more were submitted by a 19- year old college student using made-up identities."
In a tweet, Attorney General James stated that "these illegal schemes are unacceptable."
The New York Times reports that the actions will result in "millions in penalties on third-party services that generated the comments."