The results of an analysis released Wednesday show hundreds of thousands of public comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission in support of "net neutrality" regulations came from fake accounts with domains in foreign countries, including Russia.
The report by the National Legal and Policy Center stated that between May 24 and May 30, 236,999 comments were submitted to the FCC from users with domains in France, Russia and Germany.
"Gaming the system to generate hundreds of thousands of comments from people that aren't even U.S. citizens and may not even exist is unprecedented," Peter Flaherty, president of the National Legal and Policy Center Peter Flaherty, said in a statement. "Moreover, to think that comments from foreign citizens could potentially influence a U.S. regulatory proceeding is very troubling."
The analysis follows allegations and investigations into Russian attempts to influence the U.S. election. According to the report, 60,220 of the comments between May 24 and May 30 were submitted from emails with the Russian domain extension Mail.ru.
On May 18, the FCC voted 2-1 to start the process of dismantling the regulations placed on Internet service providers during the Obama administration which mandated that Internet companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon handle all web traffic equally. The decision has caused public outcry with organizations like Amazon and Reddit calling for an Internet protest on July 12.
Nearly 5 million comments have been submitted so far, but last week a separate NLPC study found that one-fifth of the pro-net neutrality comments were fake. The public comment period ends in the middle of August.
An FCC spokesman declined to comment on the latest report.