How We Fight for the Future in 2022

Holy crap, what a year! This year, our 10th (!!!), was jam-packed with strategic campaigns, resulting in many victories for our nimble, scrappy team. When knitted together, they had a tangible impact for millions of people across the world.

While sometimes the number of Goliaths we face can feel endless, the Fight for the Future team (which includes you!) gives us hope. Time and again we’ve faced down seemingly insurmountable fights, and come out on top. Keep reading to learn about some of the most recent examples. 

(In 2022 you’ll be hearing more from us about our 10th anniversary, how you can celebrate with us, and how the decisions we make about technology in the next 10 years will define the future of humanity).

As always, your support makes all this possible, so please chip in what you can to sustain these fights!

2021 Victories


Did real damage to Amazon’s surveillance empire

In 2021, we made headway in the fight against Amazon’s surveillance empire. We kicked off the year campaigning to end workplace surveillance at Amazon, helping to break the story at CNBC on Amazon’s vans turning into mobile surveillance machines that simultaneously surveil drivers and our neighborhoods. And we worked with Senator Markey (D-MA) to organize a letter to demand answers about this new mobile surveillance system. 

As we approached the one-year anniversary of Amazon’s moratorium on selling facial recognition tech to the police, we launched the Eyes on Amazon campaign along with the Athena Coalition, MediaJustice and other civil rights groups, calling for a permanent ban. Within two weeks of launching the campaign, Amazon announced an extension of its moratorium ‘until further notice.’ The concessions didn’t end there. After years of campaigning, meeting with shareholders, and holding protests across the country, Amazon announced that it would no longer allow law enforcement to privately ask Ring camera owners for video footage. It also imposed limits on geographic location, number of inquiries per incident, and restricted video requests related to lawful events like protests. While this is a huge concession, this policy shift does not change the fundamental dangers or racial profiling that accompanies widespread use of Amazon’s interconnected cameras in homes, mailboxes, and vehicles.


Launched the first major grassroots campaign against palm scanning

We started a new campaign focused on keeping event venues from adopting Amazon’s biometric palm scanning technology. Fight for the Future, along with 30 human rights groups and more than 200 artists including Tom Morello, Sean Ono Lennon, Amanda Palmer, and Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill, called on Red Rocks Amphitheater and AXS to cancel their new Amazon One palm scanning contract ( building on past work to keep facial recognition out of music festivals). The campaign was covered by major music outlets such as Billboard, Pitchfork and Rolling Stone, and within a few days we provoked a defensive response from Amazon. We are now in talks with Red Rocks about possibly reversing the decision to work with Amazon.

Built one of the largest coalitions in support of data privacy

We’ve been educating lawmakers, civil society, and the press about the root causes of Big Tech’s harms: surveillance capitalism, algorithmic manipulation, and monopoly power. Our work on this has been cited by the New York Times, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, the Washington Post, and other outlets. As Congress debated how best to address the dominance and harm of Facebook in the wake of whistleblower Frances Haugen’s testimony, we quickly launched with 70+ human rights organizations. Our campaign page included a mind blowing design from our designer, Vasjen Katro, and demands Congress use its subpoena power to launch a full investigation into Facebook’s harms and a real federal data privacy law that makes it illegal for companies like Facebook and YouTube to collect the enormous amount of data they use to power their harmful and personalized recommendation algorithms.

The campaign received widespread media coverage and showed the overwhelming consensus among civil society groups that a strong federal data privacy law is critical to reducing the harms of platforms’ algorithmic manipulation.

Free SpeechCensorship 

Organized a Massive Coalition To Protect Free Expression & Section 230

We continue to be a leading voice educating and advocating around the human rights and free expression implications with changing Section 230, and we are one of the few organizations consistently raising concerns about the ways that platforms content moderation regimes and algorithmic manipulation suppress marginalized people’s speech. In 2021, we organized a letter from 70+ racial justice, human rights, LGBTQ, harm reduction, and social justice groups opposing the repeal or gutting of 230 and calling on lawmakers to pass the SAFE SEX Worker Study Act to study the public health impact of SESTA/FOSTA before making further changes. Our view is that lawmakers should pass this bill and investigate the harm done by their last change to Section 230 before making more changes.

We’ve led opposition to the misguided Justice Against Malicious Algorithms Act as well as a poorly written medical misinformation bill, and explained why measures like privacy legislation and antitrust would do more to address online harms than any changes to 230. We’ve also been active in conversations around online harms to children, and the need to ensure that policies respect the rights of young people to use social media to connect, find support, and organize to change their world.

We’re seeing more and more news coverage that acknowledges the human rights concerns around poorly thought-out efforts to punish Big Tech. So far, we have kept bad legislation at bay, but bills from both Democrats and Republicans continue to be a threat, and we’re always wary of bills like the EARN IT Act, which could pop back up and move very quickly. To keep educating people around what’s at stake, we created


Drew First Blood In the Fight Against Facial Recognition in Public Places

The tides have truly turned against facial recognition, and it’s in no small part due to our ongoing organizing to ban it. Need an example? Earlier this fall Facebook/Meta announced plans to end its massive facial recognition program. Even if this is just a PR move, the fact that the company chose to focus on facial recognition is a testament to how successful we've been in making this technology politically toxic.

This year we expanded our focus beyond government and law enforcement use of the technology to call for a ban on facial recognition in all public places. We’ve continued our two-pronged strategy: make the tech so politically toxic so that we slow down widespread adoption, while building the swell of support to win policy that bans the technology. For the first prong we focused on retailers, and led a coalition of more than 35 organizations to launch the first major campaign to ban facial recognition surveillance in retail stores.** **So far we’ve gotten 19 retailers, including Walmart, Home Depot, and Target, to confirm they don’t use or plan to use the technology. After Macy’s confirmed and doubled down on its use of facial recognition, we rented a mobile billboard and drove it outside Macy’s locations in D.C. to draw attention to the company’s use of facial recognition, especially on kids.

On the legislative front, we got the Federal facial recognition moratorium reintroduced in Congress and continued to support local efforts to ban facial recognition (like in King County, Washington - the first county to ban the technology). In the end, we know that Federal (and even global) policies are needed to prevent a biometric surveillance dystopia, but we see this work as part of a broader strategy to slow down commercial adoption and cultural normalization of this technology, to give us time to fight for the prohibitions we need.

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Forced Apple to Postpone and possibly abandon its SpyPhone plan

In August Apple announced plans to install photo and message scanning software on all iOS devices as a way to address the spread of CSAM (Child Sexual Abuse Material). Photos saved to iCloud would be scanned and compared to a hash of known CSAM images, and messages sent with iMessage would be scanned for sexually explicit images. This on-device scanning would create a backdoor on devices unlike anything other tech companies have done by bypassing end-to-end encryption to establish a new precedent for law enforcement to access information on personal devices, and it would actually endanger children and vulnerable communities.

In the wake of the announcement we led the grassroots response. We worked with a coalition of digital and human rights groups to collect more than 60,000 petition signatures and delivered them to Apple in a virtual press conference with our friends at EFF, S.T.O.P., OpenMedia, and security expert Bruce Schneier. Then we organized protests outside Apple stores in cities across the country. At first Apple said it would postpone its plan in order to address civil rights’ concerns, but the company has quietly pulled references to its spyPhone plan off its site, suggesting it’s abandoning it!
Net Neutrality 

Laid the Groundwork for a Net Neutrality Victory

When FCC Chair Ajit Pai repealed net neutrality in 2017, we knew it would take a major effort to win it back. Since then we have organized some of the largest online protests in human history in response to the repeal, and our work is paying off.

In 2021, we helped organize grassroots activists to send nearly 200K messages to lawmakers via Battle for the Net (our longstanding hub for net neutrality organizing), demanding the Biden administration nominate champs to the FCC who don’t have ties to the telecom industry and for the Senate to swiftly confirm them. We celebrated a victory in November when Jessica Rosenworcel (the acting FCC chair for most of 2021), as well as friend-of-the-org and champion of net neutrality and Broadband access Gigi Sohn were nominated to fill the open spots at the FCC. Rosenworcel was successfully confirmed, and we’re working both publicly and behind-the-scenes to make sure Sohn gets confirmed to ensure we have an FCC majority in favor of reinstatement of net neutrality. Evan also made the case for swift confirmation in a Vice op-ed linking the importance of net neutrality to the urgent need to rein in the monopolistic power of Big Tech.

We’ve also continued to build momentum for legislation enshrining net neutrality into law, helping to organize a Congressional briefing about the importance of net neutrality and Title II protections at which Senator Markey announced plans to introduce net neutrality legislation. In early May we had some vindication when the New York Attorney General’s office announced proof that the nation’s largest broadband companies funded a massive campaign of fraud that flooded the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with fake comments using stolen names and addresses to influence the agency’s net neutrality proceeding in 2017. We were the organization that first helped expose the flood of fake comments. We know that as we get closer to winning back net neutrality there will be more and more of these kinds of attacks. But we won’t back down when any industry tries to fake their way through the process to undermine democracy, and we won’t stop fighting for net neutrality.

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Called out human rights issues with Apple's app store monopoly

While the Epic vs. Apple trial was underway, we launched, which was covered by the Washington Post and others. We highlighted how the “stranglehold” on the App Store not only hurts competition and innovation, but also represents a human rights problem because it gives authoritarian governments around the world a chokepoint to ban or censor apps.

Next, we organized a Pride Month action where we partnered with Great Fire, a non-profit organization that monitors the status of websites censored by the Great Firewall of China, to document instances of removal, unavailability, and censorship in App Stores around the world for apps specifically catering to LGBTQ+ content, community building, social networking, entertainment, mental health, counseling, and fitness.

We’re encouraged that some provisions in the House antitrust package of bills take aim at Apple and Google’s app store policies, and are starting to build out a coalition of organizations that understand the importance of fighting for the right to run whatever software you want on your own devices.


Defended decentralized technology against misguided legislation

When Congress snuck provisions into the big infrastructure bill that would crush the cryptocurrency ecosystem, expand surveillance, and endanger human rights, we fought back. We drove more than 40,000 calls to Senators and facilitated tweets reaching more than 20 million users, helping to delay the vote and generate the introduction of two competing amendments in less than a week. The campaign generated massive press attention including the front page of WaPo, NPR Marketplace, The Hill, and dozens of other articles.

At the last minute, politics got in the way and our amendment didn’t pass. But while the provision was ultimately included in the final infrastructure bill signed into law, we aren’t giving up. Lawmakers have already introduced at least three standalone bills that aim to override most of the bad provisions in the infrastructure bill. We’ll build support for these bills at and are updating the scorecard as legislators show their commitment to supporting a fix.

We see real potential for decentralized technologies, and we want to ensure that any policies governing them or responding to legitimate concerns (like climate, scams, etc) don't undermine human rights or disproportionately harm marginalized communities. Stay tuned for much more from us on these issues in 2022!


Launched an Attack on Child Surveillance

Children are increasingly subjected to surveillance, and we are committed to protecting them. In partnership with our friends at Parents Together, we launched a campaign to End Child Surveillance and held a livestream panel of parents sharing stories of their kids being harmed by surveillance.

We also launched a campaign to ban eproctoring in schools. Eproctoring, which surged in popularity during the pandemic, is essentially spyware that students are forced to install on their devices in order to complete their courses. There has been a massive student backlash, and we are working to pressure schools to end the use of the invasive, biased, and ineffective technology. Our campaign has already gotten 14 schools to say they won’t use eProctoring, and we co-wrote an op-ed with our friends at Encode Justice that recently ran in Teen Vogue.


Stopped Spotify from Surveilling Your Emotions

When Spotify got a patent to listen in on users and recommend music based on gender and other personal characteristics or emotional analysis, we partnered up with Access Now and the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers to stop this invasive technology. We organized a letter campaign with over 180 signatories from around the world, including musicians, artists, and human rights organizations. The letter garnered significant media coverage, including in Reuters, Pitchfork, The Hill, and FORTUNE. We launched the campaign in conjunction with Fight Director Evan Greer’s new music video and album, Spotify is Surveillance, which received critical acclaim and helped to spotlight the issue. Our work forced Spotify to abandon plans to use the technology, but we’ll keep vigilant to ensure they never use, license, sell, or monetize their patent.

Called B.S. On Using Intellectual Property Restrictions to Deny People COVID Vaccines and Digital Books

From Fight for the Future’s beginning, we have fought against efforts by copyright maximalists to control and censor content. This year, we’ve joined forces with the new Library Futures project to champion and defend public libraries in the digital age and called out Amazon’s attacks on libraries. Our work to sound the alarm helped lead to major coverage and a Congressional letter. We also pushed back against academic journals that sought to install spyware to punish students for using free and better websites to access research papers.

We were among the first to speak out against the duplicitous Journalism, Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), legislation that would basically funnel Facebook money into News Corp hands, while eroding fair use law and leaving local independent journalism out in the cold.

Copyright became a major issue when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine, testing, and treatment, with organizations like the RIAA ghoulishly lobbying against a WTO measure to waive intellectual property rights in order to make lifesaving COVID vaccines and treatments available globally. So we organized a “No COVID in our name” letter from more than 70 artists, authors and entertainers including Kathleen Hanna, Stephen Fry, Debra Messing, Alyssa Milano, and Neil Gaiman, and continue to gather more signers to refute these claims that stopping the spread of COVID is bad for creators.

Finally, we launched This hub site is the foundation of our growing work in the movement to reimagine our laws to serve the interests of creators and the public, not mega-corporations and their investors. End Creative Monopolies starts with the public’s growing understanding of the harms of monopolies and big tech, and applies that lens to the myth of the starving artist across creative mediums—from musicians and authors to streamers and photographers.


Pushed back against the expansion of Government Surveillance

In the wake of the January 6 Capitol Attack, we warned against attempts to exploit the crisis to expand surveillance programs and authoritarian policies that disproportionately target and silence communities of color and marginalized social movements.

We also celebrated the one-year anniversary of the expiration of Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, participating in a day of action and helping to drive more than 13,000 signatures to Congress in support of privacy rights via

In solidarity with immigrant rights groups, we helped initiate a letter against calls to create a “smart wall” that would exponentially expand surveillance technology at the border.

Finally, we continue to support the Fourth Amendment is Not for Sale Act, legislation that would keep the government from purchasing your personal data that it would otherwise need a warrant to acquire.


Shared Our Playbook

One of our goals is to share our strategy of using the power of the Internet to build movements online. At the start of the year, we partnered with Georgia-based Women Engaged to support their digital strategy and comms during the Senate runoff. We helped them create a hub for their voter engagement work, advised and supported a weekly livestream, and helped elevate their Gen Z voices in the media.

As the Biden administration started to staff up, we launched with influencers including Mark Ruffalo, and drove actions and organized influencers to keep big tech out of the administration. We also continued our work with the Poor People’s Campaign, helping to create the Season of Nonviolent Action campaign page.

We’ve also been involved in advising the newly formed Union of Musicians and Allied Workers, who have been running a powerful Justice at Spotify campaign and recently organized distributed protests led by independent musicians around the world.

2022 Priorities

Net Neutrality 

Net Neutrality and Internet Access

After years of making the case and organizing grassroots support for net neutrality, 2022 is the year we can win it back. The Biden administration has called for the reinstatement of net neutrality and has nominated some open Internet champs to the FCC. We’ll be pushing for this to be a top priority in the new year and will drive supporters like you to take action to counter the opposition from Verizon, Comcast, and other Big Cable lobbyists. We’ll also be supporting legislation that will enshrine net neutrality into law (and counter industry efforts to weaken any legislation).
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Fighting Surveillance Capitalism and Big Tech Monopolies

Big Tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google have built their empires on a surveillance-driven, monopolistic business model that is fundamentally incompatible with basic human rights, democracy, and free expression. They have taken the enormous potential that the Internet holds to connect people and restructure society more equitably and they’ve twisted it into a dystopian shopping mall that amplifies and exacerbates discriminatory systems, disproportionately harming historically oppressed communities.

Fight for the Future has been deeply engaged in thought leadership in this space, channeling generalized anger at Big Tech companies into real political power, and helping point policy makers and observers toward solutions that will actually help—like strong Federal data privacy legislation, algorithmic transparency, interoperability, and anti-trust action.

Congress has been slow to act, but the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced a potential rulemaking on privacy, surveillance, and algorithmic discrimination. We have a narrow window of opportunity for policymakers to actually get something done on this issue. A top priority for 2022 will be building a major, cross-partisan grassroots movement to convince the FTC to do as much as they possibly can, and build popular support for policies that address the harms of surveillance capitalism and help put us on a path toward a better Internet.

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Online Free Expression, Section 230, and Human Rights

Unfortunately, while actual harm reduction measures like data privacy legislation have been largely stalled in Congress, lawmakers from both major US parties have continued to obsess over Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Proposed changes to this foundational law range from misguided but harmful to deeply silly to cynical and disastrous. In 2022, we’ll continue to push back against the most dangerous bills that have the greatest likelihood of moving, like the EARN IT Act. And we’ll be going on the offense: demanding that lawmakers reintroduce and pass the Safe Sex Worker Study Act––a bill to study the harm done by SESTA/FOSTA, the last major change to Section 230––before they rush toward making further changes to the law. We’re working closely with partners in the sex work, LGBTQ+, and human rights communities to advance that work and ensure that the voices of impacted communities are heard by lawmakers.

Thankfully, we already have momentum: some of our work and messaging was highlighted by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen during a key House hearing this past Fall. We’ll continue to hold the line and build consensus that if lawmakers want to address the harms of Big Tech they should regulate surveillance, monopoly power, and algorithmic discrimination, not speech.


Cryptocurrencies, Decentralized Tech, and the Future of the Internet

Fight for the Future has long advocated for decentralized, community-driven alternatives to Big Tech monopolies and their abusive business practices._ But with its rebrand to ‘Meta’ and interest in creating its own digital currency, it’s clear that Facebook has now set its sights on dictating the next generation of the internet, aka web3. _

One of our first missions is to help build out the community of human rights organizations who will fight with us to ensure that the policies governing this next generation of the Internet are carefully crafted to protect vulnerable communities, free expression, and human rights––and that they don’t undermine the potential of truly decentralized technologies.

In 2022 we plan to meet with lawmakers to ensure that human rights concerns are being considered in any regulation to decentralized technologies and to find opportunities to rally the existing community of crypto enthusiasts to fight back against specific bad policies.


Facial Recognition

We’ve seen our years of effort pay off as more communities pass bans on facial recognition and companies distance themselves from the invasive, dangerous tech. But there are more sectors where we need to focus and limit the spread of facial recognition as we continue to push for policy. These include airports, restaurants, banks, healthcare, workplaces, and schools. We’ll continue to strategically target these industries and organize opposition to their use of facial recognition to force companies to publicly state their position on the technology (giving us the opportunity to celebrate good positions and shame and organize against bad ones).

We also see a lot of potential to make progress in federal agencies, and plan to work with the FTC and the Department of Education to rein in the use of biometric tech in public places and to protect kids from this surveillance in schools. Lastly, we’ll continue to use this momentum to push for laws banning facial recognition technology, since this is the only way to fully protect people from its harms.

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Amazon’s Dangerous Surveillance and Data Practices

From the concessions we got in 2021, we know Amazon is more vulnerable now than they’ve ever been. It's time to double down on elected officials and heads of agencies to get policy implemented to permanently stop Amazon’s surveillance empire and home surveillance ecosystem. In the coming months, we’re calling on lawmakers to end corporate-government surveillance partnerships, like Amazon’s partnership with local police departments. We’ll start at the local level working with grassroots groups to mobilize city councils and mayors to pass ordinances banning these partnerships. We’ll also be campaigning the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission to use their respective authorities to stop widespread surveillance and data abuse from corporations like Amazon. After gaining traction in the fight to stop the use of Amazon's biometric palm scanning, we’re expanding our efforts to stop the widespread adoption of this dangerous technology.

Copyright and Internet Freedom

Emboldened by the massive profits reaped by pharmaceutical companies at the expense of untold lives, copyright and IP maximalists are continuing to demand more rights and profits for their shareholders at the expense of creators and access to knowledge. The good news is that people all around the globe are waking up to the inequities and harms of creative monopolies, including a recent DOJ lawsuit to stop the merger of publishing behemoths. But we still have an uphill battle against monied interests that are clinging onto their exploitative relationship with creativity and knowledge. Copyright laws like DMCA continue to be used to get Twitch streamers kicked off the platform and by police who play Taylor Swift songs while being filmed with the intention of making videos of them impossible to post on mainstream social media outlets. And with threats like those from Sen. Tillis to rewrite DMCA in ways that make it even worse, we have to reminan vigilant.

We’ll continue to defend libraries even as publishers sue against a law to make digital books available at reasonable terms. We’ll pitch in with a coalition of copyleft organizations to minimize the harm of bad legislation like the Felony Streaming Act and CASE Act and their potential impact on individual librarians as well as the Internet at large. We’ll also work to support and empower artists across the spectrum of creativity to take back their rights and fight for a new generation of technology and tools that mega-corporations can’t control, by design.


Data Privacy

Data privacy is the answer to a lot of problems, from reining in the abusive power of Big Tech to stopping mass surveillance online. In addition to pushing forward rulemaking at the FTC that could address discriminatory privacy practices, there is an opportunity to pass federal data privacy legislation. There are a number of proposals on the table and we must ensure any legislation is strong enough to protect your intimate personal information against harmful practices of platforms like Facebook/Meta and YouTube. We are specifically concerned with policies based around an opt-in policy framework, that put the onus on individuals to understand the implications of sharing their data with corporations. As always, we’ll especially need to fight for racial justice and to protect the rights of young people in any data privacy legislation. In order for this to work we’ll need to organize people to take massive grassroots actions to ensure we win policies that keep everyone and everyone’s data safe online, and that industry lobbyists don’t weasel their way in to push for weak regulations.