Rosenworcel Seeks Wider Investigation of Fake Comments

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel used a speech at the State of the Net conference in Washington Monday (Jan. 29) to call for a thorough and widepread investigation of fake comments in government proceedings.

She said that the FCC, the subject of millions of fake comments to its net neutrality docket, has informed anyone who finds their names were stolen or misused in the net neutrality docket, has been advised to file a statement to that effect in the public record. She said that was hardly a solution.

She also opined that the FCC had not worked with the New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman on his investigation of New York residents whose names were misused in the docket. Rosenworcel joined the AG at a press conference several seeks ago to talk up the investigation.

She suggested that lack of cooperation was letting fraud go unchecked.

New York AG Investigating Fake Net Neutrality Comments

"Section 1001 of Title 18 makes it a felony for any person to 'knowingly or willfully' make “any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation” in matters before the federal government," she said. "It makes the unwillingness of our regulators in Washington to address the fraud we already know exists especially chilling."

She said to the good, the Government Accountability Office has agreed to investigate the "extent and pervasiveness of fraud and the misuse of American identities during the federal rulemaking process," but she said more is needed.

"We need a lot more investigating—from the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. We are looking at a systemic effort to corrupt the process by which the public participates in some of the biggest decisions being made in Washington."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.