The GAO Says It Will Investigate Bogus Net Neutrality Comments, Eventually

from the fake-people-real-problems dept

The General Accounting Office (GAO) says the agency will launch an investigation into the fraud that occurred during the FCC's rushed repeal of net neutrality rules. Consumers only had one real chance to weigh in during the public comment period of the agency's misleadingly-named "Restoring Internet Freedom" proposal. But "somebody" paid a group or individual to fill the comment period with bogus comments from fake or even dead people, in a ham-fisted attempt to downplay massive, legitimate public opposition to the plan.

The FCC then blocked a law enforcement investigation into the fraud, refusing to hand over server logs or API key data that could easily disclose the culprit(s). FOIA requests and public requests for help (one coming from myself) were also promptly ignored by the Trump FCC.

To help speed things along, the GAO says it will launch an investigation into the bogus comments and the FCC's response to them, though they warn in a letter that it may be at least five months before they have the staff and resources for such an inquiry:

"Thank you for your letter, jointly signed by a number of your colleagues, requesting that the Government Accountability Office review the extent and pervasiveness of fraud and the misuse of American identities during federal rulemaking processes. GAO accepts your request as work that is within the scope of its authority. At the current time we anticipate that staff with the required skills will be available to initiate an engagement in about five months."

The GAO is also currently investigating apparently bogus claims by the FCC that it suffered a malicious "DDOS attack" the same day HBO's John Oliver drove millions of frustrated citizens to the FCC website to chime in on its blatant hand out to the telecom sector. Both the fake comments and the fake DDOS attack appear to be an attempt to undermine trust in the millions of consumers viciously-opposed to the FCC's plan. Both will also play a starring role in the numerous lawsuits headed the FCC's direction for its blatant disregard of the public interest.

If the GAO or these lawsuits can prove the FCC ignored agency guidelines and the Administrative Procedure Act in its rush to cuddle up to AT&T, Verizon and Comcast, the agency's repeal could prove short lived. That's a major reason why ISPs like Comcast and AT&T are pushing hard for new fake net neutrality legislation that would codify federal apathy into law, pre-empting federal and state efforts to restore the rules--or craft tougher restrictions down the road.

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Filed Under: fake comments, fcc, gao, net neutrality

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2018 @ 7:45am

    Wow! Did they redact Johanna Ayer's name the first time it was mentioned, forget to redact her title (available in the GAO phone directory so she's easily un-redacted), and then forget to redact her name the second time she was mentioned? Redact-fail!

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