ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Monday that the Federal Communications Commission has agreed to cooperate with his investigation into how millions of fake comments spammed the agency’s servers.
The comments were issued leading up to the repeal of net neutrality rules.
As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, Schneiderman said his investigation shows “that this process has been deeply corrupted.”
The FCC has been flooded with 9 million fake comments on net neutrality. One million of them used real people’s identities fraudulently.
“Even right here in my office, my assistant press secretary, Rachel, had a phony comment submitted under her name using the address of her childhood home,” Schneiderman said.
Some of the names that were used fraudulently belonged to people who have died. Sylviane Baumflek got curious when she saw a friend’s Facebook post, so she searched the FCC comment database.
“My father-in-law’s name popped up,” she said.
There were two comments – both against net neutrality.
Chris Basco of Albany saw a comment that purported to be from his mother. It was dated just days after she died this summer.
“Anger, and words I cannot repeat,” Basco said.
“You know, of course, there could be other people with his first name, but not in Brooklyn,” he said.
Furthermore, Baumflek said her father-in-law has been dead since 2004.
“So if he’s actually on the web from the grave, I want to know about it,” she said.
She laughed, but she said it was very disturbing.
The attorney general said to figure out who is behind the bot invasion, he needs the FCC’s cooperation – which he said did not come for months until Monday.
“(They) finally e-mailed my team offering their assistance in our investigation,” Schneiderman said.
Twenty-seven U.S. senators, led by Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire) also wrote to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai expressing concern over the reports about the bots.
All indications are that the vote to repeal net neutrality rules will go forward next week, but Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said, “It is clear that are process for serving the public interest is broken.”
Schneiderman said the vote should be delayed while comments are investigated.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)