FCC ordered to pay journalist US$43 000 for refusing to comply with net neutrality records request

A settlement agreement filed in court says the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) agreed to pay journalist Jason Prechtel US$43 000 to cover his attorney fees and court costs after unlawfully withholding records from a reporter under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Prechtel made a FOIA request on June 2017 to FCC. In the request, Prechtel asked for data that would identify who made bulk comments on the proceeding to repeal net neutrality, which may contain comments falsely attributed to people without their consent. The journalist sued the commission on September 2017 following the FCC’s refusal to respond to FOIA request in the timeframe provided under the statute. A year later, a US District Court judge ordered the FCC to release at least some of the records requested by Prechtel. Though FCC Chairman Ajit Pai did not admit to doing anything wrong, the settlement resulted in the case being closed.