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Net neutrality protests, coming to a Verizon store near you this Thursday

Net neutrality protests, coming to a Verizon store near you this Thursday

Twenty-seven USA senators and New York's attorney general asked federal regulators Monday to delay a vote on scrapping open internet rules amid concerns the public comment docket is filled with fake comments.

The protests are being organized by Team Internet, a "grassroots network of almost half a million volunteer activists spearheaded by Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, and Free Press Action Fund, three of the groups behind the massive July 12 net neutrality day of action that drove millions of comments, emails, and phone calls to the FCC and Congress".

"Federal law guarantees every American a voice in this process", Schneiderman said during a New York City press conference Monday. Numerous comments, Schneiderman said, were filed using false identities, including those of minors and deceased people.

The page "allows anyone that thinks their identity may have been stolen to check the complete file of FCC comments and see if a fake submission was made in their name".

Since the open letter was published late last month, roughly 3,000 people from across the country have reached out to Schneiderman's office, including 350 New Yorkers, claiming that their names were used to submit comments without their knowledge, Schneiderman said.

Meanwhile, an FCC member called on the commission to delay a scheduled December 14 vote on repealing net neutrality rules enacted under the Obama administration until an investigation can be completed.

Schneiderman said the FCC agreed on Monday to assist in the probe.

The FCC, composed of three Republicans and two Democrats, is widely expected to kill net neutrality in favor of what Pai and the Republicans call "light-touch regulation".

"The FCC is on course to eliminate net neutrality guided by a record corrupted by hundreds of thousands of filings with stolen identities", Rosenworcel said.

The FCC vote to repeal Title II classification for telecoms companies is scheduled for Thursday, December 14th. Between June and November, Schneiderman's office requested logs and "other records" from the FCC nine times, but has received "no substantive response to our investigative requests".

The FCC is expected to vote on February 14 on Chairman Ajit Pai's plan to scrap the 2015 landmark net neutrality rules, moving to give broadband service providers sweeping power over what content consumers can access.

Pai, who was once the associate general counsel for Verizon and was nominated to the commission by Obama, has favored rolling back net neutrality regulations, an Obama-era rule that treats broadband like a public utility.

"This so-called investigation is nothing more than a transparent attempt by a partisan supporter of the Obama Administration's heavy-handed Internet regulations to gain publicity for himself", he said in an email November 22. The FCC needs to get to the bottom of this mess.

She warned in a phone interview Thursday that the FCC's draft order "completely discards the fundamental open internet of the last 20 years", and that it is "going to a whole new place".