FCC Should Cooperate In Net Neutrality Investigation

November 29, 2017

Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, announced a plan last week to overturn “net neutrality” rules that ensure equal access to the internet. He would, in effect, turn over a vast public asset to a few private interests for their own profit. The adoption of any such regulation requires a public comment period. Because of the importance of the internet to the society and the economy, the FCC issue drew millions of comments before it recently concluded. But New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says he is investigating what he calls a “massive scheme” by unknown parties to corrupt the public comment process by submitting hundreds of thousands of false comments under the names of Americans who did not submit them. According to Schneiderman, his investigators have detected tens of thousands of such messages originating not only in New York, but in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and other states. To conduct such an investigation, the receiving party’s cooperation is necessary. In this case, that party is the FCC. But, incredibly, the agency has declined to cooperate in the inquiry. The issue isn’t simply regulatory. It’s the obligation of public officials to thwart crimes. Pai should ensure that the FCC cooperates or explain its failure to do so.