Commissioner Rosenworcel Keynote Remarks, State of the Net Conference

Instead of talking about the substance of network neutrality, I want to use it as a launching pad to go big and discuss policymaking in the internet era. I want to talk about shortcomings in our civic infrastructure. Because we need to make some real changes if we want to give the public a fair shot at getting through to those who make decisions in Washington.

We know that five agencies—the Federal Communications Commission, the
Department of Labor, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Energy Regulation Commission—have had problems with stolen identities and fake comments in the public record. But I suspect they are not the only ones. 

We are looking at a systemic effort to corrupt the process by which the public participates in some of the biggest decisions being made in Washington. If we want to build the civic infrastructure to withstand this assault we need to both understand its origins and take out the rogues who are stealing identities, cheating the public, and destroying our trust. Plus, while we build this civic infrastructure, we can take steps to improve the rulemaking process. Every agency should perform its own internal investigation. Every agency should consider simple security measures—like CAPTCHA or two-factor authentication—that enhance security without decreasing public participation. And every agency can do something old-fashioned: they can hold public hearings. But the truth is we need to get started. Because it’s what good governance—and democracy in the digital age requires. 

Commissioner Rosenworcel Keynote Remarks, State of the Net Conference Rosenworcel Seeks Wider Investigation of Fake Comments (Multichannel News)