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Democrats Call for Net Neutrality Vote Delay Amid Fake Comment Controversy

December 5, 2017, 3:06 PM UTC

Democrats are calling for a vote on net neutrality scheduled for next week to be delayed, after it was revealed that millions of comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the issue were faked, with some commenters utilizing stolen identities.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, called on Monday for the vote to be delayed, saying the revelations point to “identity theft on a massive scale,” according to CNN.

The FCC is hoping to repeal Obama-era rules that bar Internet Service Providers from prioritizing internet traffic heading to certain websites, apps or services. Those rules enshrine “net neutrality” into law, and campaigners say that if the law is repealed the result could be disastrous for an open Internet. The FCC’s Republican chairman, Ajit Pai, says a repeal will remove barriers to investment.

Read Fortune’s net neutrality explainer here

“This is an attempt by people who want to keep the Obama Administration’s heavy-handed Internet regulations to delay the vote because they realize that their effort to defeat the plan to restore Internet freedom has stalled,” said a spokesperson for Pai.

Earlier this year, the FCC called on people to submit their views on its proposals. Over 21 million comments were made, although following the new revelations the number of these made by real people has been cast into doubt.

Jessica Rosenworcel, one of two Democratic commissioners at the FCC, supported Schneiderman’s call for the vote to be delayed, pending a full investigation. “The FCC is on course to eliminate net neutrality guided by a record corrupted by hundreds of thousands of filings with stolen identities,” she said.