Keep up with the latest developments and legal issues in the telecommunications and emerging technology sectors, with exclusive access to a comprehensive collection of telecommunications law news,...
By Jon Reid
The New York Times Co. is suing the Federal Communications Commission for records the newspaper alleges may reveal possible Russian government interference in a public comment period before the commission rolled back Obama-era net neutrality rules.
The plaintiffs, including Times reporter Nicholas Confessore and investigations editor Gabriel Dance, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Sept. 20 under the Freedom of Information Act, seeking to compel the commission to hand over data.
“The request at issue in this litigation involves records that will shed light on the extent to which Russian nationals and agents of the Russian government have interfered with the agency notice-and-comment process about a topic of extensive public interest: the government’s decision to abandon ‘net neutrality,’” the plaintiffs alleged.
The FCC has “thrown up a series of roadblocks” to prevent the Times from obtaining records, which were first requested by Confessore and Dance in June 2017, the plaintiffs said.
About half a million comments on the FCC’s proposal were submitted from Russian email accounts, including some sent by automation, the Times alleged, citing data from a Washington Post op-ed by Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.
The plaintiffs also pointed to a report from cyber-intelligence company GroupSense that links the email addresses cited in special counsel Robert Mueller’s “indictment of thirteen Russian individuals and three Russian companies” to the emails used to submit comments on the FCC’s proposal.
The plaintiffs are seeking data, including IP addresses, time stamps and the FCC’s internal web server logs, linked to public comments submitted to the agency.
An unprecedented number of public comments on the proposal flooded the commission before it rolled back its rules prohibiting internet service providers from blocking, throttling or prioritizing web content.
Releasing the FCC’s “internal web server logs” would jeopardize the commission’s IT security practices,” an FCC spokesman told Bloomberg Law.
A federal court ruled in a separate case last week that the FCC doesn’t have to release internal agency web server logs like the kind being sought by the Times, the spokesman added.
The newspaper’s request was modified several times in an attempt to obtain the records, the Times alleged.
The case is New York Times Co. v. FCC, No. 1:18-cv-08607, complaint filed 9/20/18.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)