MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) announced Monday that he and 34 Democratic legislators sent a letter to Attorney General Brad Schimel asking him to join attorneys general from other states in challenging the FCC’s decision to repeal internet equality rules.
“The internet is as essential to American life as the telephone was in earlier times. People can’t do without it. It’s needed to apply for jobs, to run small businesses, for kids to do schoolwork and for their parents to communicate with their schools,” said Hansen. “Unfortunately, like the controversial tax bill working through Congress by President Trump and Republicans, this decision is nothing more than another attempt to increase profits for corporations at the expense of consumers, small businesses and entrepreneurs.”
The FCC’s decision to repeal these crucial consumer protections comes amid questions as to allegations of fraud with respect to the public comment process. Among those allegations are that thousands of “fake or automated” comments rendered the public comment process and resulting decision process unfair. An investigation by the New York State’s Attorney General’s office found hundreds of thousands of submissions may have been made in the names of New York citizens without their permission or who are deceased, a violation of law. Attorneys general from 18 states believe there may be two million or more comments filed using stolen identities.
Beyond the questions surrounding the public comment process are concerns with the impact the FCC’s decision will have on internet access for consumers, the free exchange of speech and ideas and on those websites with which the government and corporate providers disagree or find to be a competitive threat.