CONTACT: Christopher Curtis, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-5586
Launches Search Tool for Vermonters to Check for Fake Comments
December 7, 2017
Attorney General T.J. Donovan raised concerns over the FCC for allowing “fake comments” to be posted on its public comment pages related to proposed rules that would roll-back net neutrality rules. “Net neutrality should be protected and preserved. Fake comments undermine the integrity of the entire process.” said Attorney General Donovan. In July, Donovan submitted comments to the FCC supporting an open internet.
“I was shocked and dismayed that comments allegedly written by me and misrepresenting my views were submitted to the FCC without my knowledge or consent,” said Irene Racz of Montpelier. “In an era of ‘fake news,’ any public agency relying on phony comments to make decisions affecting all Americans is nothing more than ‘fake government’,” she said. “Net neutrality is extremely important and I do not support any effort to roll back the protections that we currently enjoy,” said Racz. “I am especially appalled at the lack of security or verification at the FCC website,” she said. “I want to thank the Attorney General for bringing this to my attention and for giving Vermonters a means to check their status and report fraudulent comments to the proper authorities. I certainly intend to do so,” said Racz.
Attorney General Donovan called on Vermonters to check to see if they are affected. “I have directed my Consumer Assistance Program to create a portal through which Vermonters can check to see if fake comments have been posted in their names and report phony entries to my office,” he said. Vermonters can go to www.uvm.edu/consumer/fake-fcc-comments and enter their names to search the FCC comment database. Attorney General Donovan also suggested that any affected Vermonters contact the FCC directly to request that phony comments be withdrawn or taken down and to enter their actual comments if they choose to do so.
“A free and open internet is the lifeblood of modern commerce, and consumers expect transparency and fairness when they go online,” said Attorney General Donovan. “Vermont’s small businesses and start-ups rely on it to be competitive in the global economy and our citizens rely on it for goods, services, and information.” The Attorney General said that rolling back net neutrality rules would be a step backwards.
Donovan thanked his counterpart in New York, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, for raising the issue of fake comments in the FCC’s net neutrality rulemaking process. Attorney General Schneiderman also modeled a web portal for consumers to search for, and report, fake comments made to the FCC.
Vermont was one of 13 states that filed comments urging the FCC to protect and preserve net neutrality in July. The comments can be found here.
Last modified: January 4, 2018