Last month, a dataset analyzing the FCC's net neutrality comments between April and October of this year revealed that over a million anti-net neutrality comments that flooded the FCC's system appear to have been sown by spambots, while as many as 99% of the legitimate comments were voicing their support of net neutrality.
More than 20 million comments were submitted - but Schneiderman says many of them are fake.
The 2015 rules changed the designation of internet service providers, or ISPs, usually big cable and telephone companies, so they were banned from blocking or throttling (slowing) legal content or from seeking payments to speed delivery of certain content, called "paid prioritization".
The FCC did not immediately reply when asked why it chose to cooperate with the investigation or whether it would delay the vote.
Schneiderman said there are anecdotal reports of comments coming from dead people, children, fictional characters and Russian email addresses as well as from people whose names were used without their permission. Virtually all opposed repealing the regulatory underpinning for the FCC's net neutrality rules.
It will now assist the New York Attorney General's office in looking into all of the fake anti-net neutrality comments submitted via the FCC site. According to the sources, Chairman Pai's staff had expressed concern that any attempt to block fraudulent comments would result in accusations that Pai was trying to censor net neutrality advocates.More news: Rickie Fowler finishes in style but Tiger Woods' challenge fades
Pai's office has not returned SiliconBeat's repeated requests for comment Monday. President Trump nominated Pai to run the FCC in 2017, and that brings us to today's brouhaha. Now he is FCC chairman and wants to roll back the net neutrality rules that were adopted two years ago. "Given the enormous danger to consumers of losing all protections should the Ninth Circuit decide to affirm the panel decision and side with AT&T Mobility, the FCC should delay a vote until the en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit issues its decision", the letter said.
"[It is] incumbent upon the FCC and all of my colleagues to stand back, figure out what's in this record before us and get to the bottom of these stolen identities", said Rosenworcel.
For now, Schneiderman called the FCC's entire comment process "deeply corrupted", and asked federal investigators to look into the incident alongside his own probe.
The Attorney General's Office has set up a website for New Yorkers where you can check to see if your identity was used without your consent.
As Republicans now hold a majority of the FCC's five seats, the order to repeal the net neutrality rules is expected to pass. Twenty-eight United States senators have asked that the vote be postponed due to the allegations of fraud dismissed by Chairman Pai. "None", Schneiderman said in the letter to Pai.
"While I fundamentally disagree with the merits of the FCC's proposal, what is equally concerning is the lack of integrity to the FCC's process that has led to this point", said FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel, a Democrat.