WILKES-BARRE -- For the past few months, the Federal Communications Commission asked for comments from the public on whether it should end net neutrality.
Thousands of comments came from people in northeastern and central Pennsylvania. But it appears many, if not most of these comments, are fake.
We called 12 people whose names were listed as making comments with the FCC and none of them said they even contacted the agency. That includes a woman from Wilkes-Barre who admits she doesn't even know what the FCC does.
The Christmas spirit runs through the home of Darlene Mapes in Wilkes-Barre, but her smile goes away when she learns her name is on a government document to the federal communications commission.
"I never did that," Mapes said.
But FCC files show that in August, Mapes wrote, "the Obama-era FCC regulations (known as net neutrality) enable the federal government to exert an unnecessary amount of regulatory control of the internet."
The FCC file shows Mapes writing, "I support Chairman Pai's proposal."
"I don't know a Chairman Pai," she said.
The FCC lists more than 500 people from Dunmore as commenting on net neutrality, including former borough council member Paul Nardozzi. He believes most of his neighbors on the list did not contact the agency.
"If they can use my name and have my address idiotic as that, God only knows what someone else could use your name for," Nardozzi said.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro believes so many fake comments hurt people who opposed the FCC. He wants to see a federal investigation into how the names of so many people were used without their knowledge.
"Approximately one million fake accounts were created, and really it influenced their decision to gut net neutrality," Shapiro said.
Darlene Mapes hopes the new rules don't slow down her internet which she only uses to play games. And she's still concerned about her name being listed on a government document taking a stand on an issue she knows nothing about.
"They don't have a right to use my name."
You may be concerned that your name is connected to a comment with the FCC and there's an easy way to find out. The attorney general's office has set up a web page where you can check to see if a fake comment has been made in your name.