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Net Neutrality Commenters: FCC May Have Revealed Your Email Address

In a bid for greater transparency, the Federal Communications Commission published the comments of people weighing on Net neutrality. And, it turns out, plenty of their emails. The issue is whether providers should treat all Internet traffic equally or give companies who pay access to a “fast lane.” The FCC has promised to read all 1.1 million comments — the most ever submitted to the agency — no matter how profane they are. It also wanted to make the comments more accessible to the public, so it released them in the form of six giant XML files containing 1.4 GB of data. Those files include full email addresses of some commenters.

Spotted by the online publication Matter, a quick glance at the XML files reveals plenty of email addresses. When contacted Thursday, the FCC told NBC News the publishing of emails was no mistake and that everyone who submitted a comment was prompted with this disclaimer, which was located prominently near the comment box:

Note: You will be filing a document into an official FCC proceeding. All information submitted, including names and addresses, will be publicly available via the web.

Make the Case: Is Net Neutrality a Good Idea? 2:20

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- Keith Wagstaff