Bots Up, Doc?

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The FBI IS reportedly investigating the groups behind bogus and bot-driven comments in the Federal Communications Commission’s Restoring Internet Freedom docket. One trail of comments leads back to Russia, so there appears to have been meddling in that area as well.

One thing the FBI will likely look at is the hundreds of thousands of comments in support of ending Title II classification of internet access that came from a single Russian address. The majority appeared to be filed on July 12 and many of those appear to have co-opted Fight for the Future’s July 12 Day of Action pro-net neutrality protest, which FFTF said prompted a couple million pro-Title II comments.

Back when the comments were flooding in in summer 2017, the National Legal & Policy Center found that 325,528 had been submitted from one Russian address. It also found more than 1 million comments from a domain extension, but enough said about that.

The Russian messages were all along the following lines, with various wording differences, and awkward grammar, but the same general theme/tone: “On July 12 is the Protect Net Neutrality Day of Action! This would be the day to protect our freedom of internet and Fight to escape the control of our life by the ISPs — the corporations we all despise. Do not let them get away with this, fight For Our Future as if our life depend on it!”

As of last week, the number of comments that came up when that Russian address was put in the FCC docket search tool was 444,719, but The Wire is sure the FBI already knows that.