Justice Department investigates millions of fake net neutrality comments for potential crimes

The Justice Department is probing whether crimes were committed when potentially millions of people's identities were posted to the Federal Communications Commission's website — without their permission — in comments about net neutrality rules, according to a BuzzFeed News report.

Two organizations confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the FBI delivered subpoenas to them related to the comments.

The reports are apparently the first to show interest from federal investigators in the case, which was already being investigated by the New York attorney general's office.

Both organizations had also been subpoenaed by the New York attorney general, according to BuzzFeed News.

The comments were left over the course of months after the Trump administration's FCC chair, Ajit Pai, moved to overturn Obama-era rules enforcing net neutrality, a regulation that prohibited Internet providers from choosing certain speeds for different websites. The vast majority of the comments were reportedly against the net neutrality rules.

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The net neutrality rules, which enjoyed a majority of the public's support, required a public comment period before being overturned. More than 20 million comments have appeared on the site since April 2017, and the New York attorney general's office estimates that up to 9.5 million of those were filed in people's names without their consent.

The FCC recently issued a decision on two Freedom of Information requests, filed by BuzzFeed News and the New York Times; according to BuzzFeed News, the commission voted not to release records requested by the news organizations: data from web-server logs that could shed additional light on the suspicious comments.