Ajit Pai has admitted that around 500,000 comments submitted during the net neutrality
public comment period were linked to Russia email addresses
. “Pai noted in a court filing that most of the comments were in favor of net neutrality, which
the FCC repealed last December,” reports Engadget. From the report: The New York Times and BuzzFeed News have filed freedom of information requests in the hopes of uncovering the extent of fraudulent comments and Russian influence in the net neutrality process. Pai’s filing was part of an FCC memorandum that addressed the requests, and the agency has argued that releasing the data could expose the U.S. to cyberattacks.
Pai’s concession underscores how Russia’s influence on U.S. democracy extends beyond headline-grabbing election interference and fake news peddling, and it also reflects the litany of issues the FCC faced during the net neutrality comment period. Over half of the almost 22 million comments came from phony, temporary or duplicate email addresses, according to a study, and reportedly only 17.4 percent of the comments were unique.