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GSA launches public campaign to battle bots, fake comments from online rulemaking forums

Follow up to previous posting – Deepfake Bot Submissions to Federal Public Comment Websites Cannot Be Distinguished from Human Submissions – via Federal News Network – “The General Services Administration kicked off a public effort this week to modernize the federal e-rulemaking process, with a special emphasis on how agencies should respond to an ever-growing number of fake and mass comment campaigns. But based on the initial possibilities, agencies, research institutions and other interested stakeholders described at the first of two public meetings on the e-rulemaking process, the debate that lies ahead is multi-faceted and complex. Take the public comments the Federal Communications Commission received on net neutrality regulations in 2017. FCC received nearly 22 million comments, and just more than half of them were identified as being from stolen identities, according to a Pew Research Center study. Just 6% of the 22 million comments were unique, while the remaining 94% of comments were submitted multiple times. Experts say a combination of mass comment campaigns and bots likely contributed to the vast majority of these submissions on net neutrality, which agencies and other stakeholders say is troubling. Under the Administrative Procedure Act, agencies are supposed to go through a public notice and comment period to solicit feedback and relevant information and data to inform their policy and rulemaking. The E-Government Act of 2002 established an e-rulemaking program, which opened up online channels for public comment on and other sites.

See also via Federal News Network – Federal rule-making faces dangerous threat – “The corruption of phishing email, social media scamming, and phony phone calls is threatening the integrity of a cherished and crucial federal process: Rule-making. No surprise, I guess, given how the era of IP-on-everything has turbo-charged the fraud industry…”

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