NLPC: Title II Docket Includes Tons of Foreign Filings

Group cites pro net-neutrality comments from e-mail addresses in Russia, France, Germany

Almost 250,000 of the comments favoring net neutrality in the FCC's "Restoring Internet Freedom" docket have come from locations outside the U.S., including Russia, according to political and policy lobbying group the National Legal and Policy Center.

The self-described government watchdog group said it had conducted a forensic analysis of comments filed between May 24 and May 27, and of those, 236,999 were sent from domains in France (92,161), Germany (84,618) and Russia (60,220).

The NLPC said the exact language was submitted "thousands of times" in comments using "fake email addresses, fake international physical addresses, and likely fake names."

"As we noted last week with the discovery of hundreds of thousands of fake comments in the docket, the full extent of compromised pro-net neutrality comments is not known," said National Legal and Policy Center president Peter Flaherty. "But the gaming of the FCC's comment system appears to be massive and now encompassing overseas bot campaigns utilizing fake foreign physical and email addresses to submit comments," he said.

As with that analysis last week, NLPC said it plans to submit the data to an outside expert for more analysis.

In the meantime it called on the FCC to investigate the foreign filings to ensure they had no influence on its decision.

Countering pushback from Title II fans who have said net-neutrality foes are flooding the Title II docket with fake comments, NLPC said last week it had found evidence of "massive deception" among the pro-Title II contingent and its own flood of questionable input.

FCC chair Ajit Pai has signaled bogus comments are the price of an open process.

"[T]here's obviously a tension between having an open process where it's easy to comment and preventing questionable comments from being filed, and generally speaking, this agency has erred on the side of openness; we want to encourage people to participate in as easy and accessible a way as possible," the chairman said following the May FCC public meeting.

The Restoring Internet Freedom docket currently has just under 5 million comments posted.