According to New York Attorney General Letitia James, digital marketing firms LCX, Lead ID, and Ifficient have struck a settlement agreement to pay a total of $615,000 following claims of submitting over 2.4 million false public comments to influence American internet legislation.
They were found guilty in 2017 of fabricating public comments in order to persuade the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to eliminate net neutrality ( a policy that requires service providers to treat all internet traffic equally).
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) discovered that 18 million of the 22 million comments submitted to the FCC were fraudulent, generated equally in favour of and against net neutrality. More than 8.5 million false comments were generated by the broadband business, at a cost of $4.2 million.
According to the OAG investigation, LCX, Lead ID, and Ifficient used a different strategy, recycling previous customer data from multiple marketing campaigns or advocacy activities that had been obtained by deceptive tactics or acquisitions. LCX apparently obtained part of its information from a huge data breach file posted on the internet.
The acts were condemned by New York Attorney General James, who emphasized the need of public comment options for Americans to express their views on vital government matters. She decried the deceptive firms’ use of individuals’ identities to further their selfish objectives.
The sources for this piece include an article in TheRegister.