2017 was an important year for Net Neutrality in the United States. Back in April 2017, it was reported by The New York Times that Ajit Pai, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission had proposed that the net neutrality rules along with Title II classifications should be rolled back. The report further included that the Internet Service Providers must voluntarily commit to principle and any violations in that matter must be enforced by the Federal Trade Commission instead of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as deceptive or unfair business practices.
Having given a brief background of the net neutrality issue, recently it has been found in an investigation conducted by the New York Attorney General’s office that out of 22 million comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission regarding net neutrality back in 2017, somewhere around 18 million of those comments were fake.
As mentioned in a report by the Attorney General’s office, the United States broadband industry falsely funded the fraudulent creation of these comments out of which 7.7 million were created by a 19-year-old college going student, 8.5 million were created by multiple broadband companies and the remaining were created by unknown sources, according to Tech Crunch.
As it turns out that most of these fake comments were generated or funded by the consortium of American broadband companies called the ‘Broadband of America’ that invested over USD 4.2 million for this job.
To be honest, bad guys really did win this time because the broadband companies who are at fault with this fraud are currently off the hook-on legal technicalities as they did a pretty good job with fire-proofing themselves from the practices of those who were contracting on their behalf.
To add to the fraudulent incident, a report by Tech Crunch also mentions that these scams were also involved in other advocacy campaigns, counting in hundreds. EPA proceedings along with millions of digital comments and letters were all a part of this big scam revealed by the New York Attorney general’s investigation.
Nevertheless, to the world’s surprise, a 19-year-old could fool the Federal Communications System and the whole American Federal Trade Commission. How is the system supposed to justify that? According to the report, the 19-year old is a California college student who simply combined a disposable email service with a fake name generation website to create these fake identities. The student then automated an individual comment submission process that delivered directly to the FCC for the net neutrality issue but somehow, the American agency could not flag those fake comments.