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FCC to overhaul electronic commenting system after millions of fake, fraudulent submissions


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The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission wants to institute reforms to the agency's online consultation system after it received millions of fake or fraudulent public comments regarding its proposal to dismantle Obama-era net neutrality rules.




Ajit Pai Chairman of the  FCC



Chairman Ajit Pai told Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., that he had requested permission from Congress to funnel some of the FCC's federal funds into efforts "to rebuild and re-engineer” its electronic commenting system, according to the July 6 letters obtained by the Washington Examiner.


Proposed changes include introducing a "Captcha" mechanism, which would require people to fill out a series of letters, numbers, and symbols, to prove they were human rather than an Internet bot.


The move was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.


The FCC received an unprecedented 21.7 million comments concerning net neutrality after Pai announced his intention to roll back the Obama-era framework in April 2017. But on closer inspection, many of the submissions came from phony email addresses, used aliases, or contained similar phrases.


The net neutrality rules were implemented to ensure Internet service providers treated all web content equally and prohibited them from blocking, throttling, or interfering with web traffic. Opponents argued that the regulations burdened smaller providers and hindered innovation.



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