The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on Communications and Technology will to hold a markup and vote on the Save the Internet Act (HR 1644) on Tuesday, March 26th. Internet activists are planning an online protest, starting today, with the intention of making the livestream of what would otherwise be a relatively obscure procedural vote go viral, to show lawmakers on the committee that “The Whole Internet is Watching.”
Fight for the Future has built a simple widget allowing any website to embed the livestream of the markup vote on their homepage or blog. They plan to place the livestream on BattleForTheNet.com and are encouraging organizations and individuals to share it widely on social media, encouraging their audiences to watch the livestream and contact Congress.
Well known sites and companies like Etsy, Tumblr, Twitter, Pornhub, Tron, Private Internet Access, BoingBoing, and Github plan to help spread the word about the vote.
The Save the Internet Act is the only real net neutrality legislation in play this Congress, but telecom lobbyists have been pushing hard for the committee to gut the bill with hostile amendments that create massive loopholes for ISPs to abuse, making this subcommittee markup vote perhaps the most important hurdle for the bill to clear. Cable-friendly Democrats in California attempted a similar ploy to gut the state net neutrality bill SB 822, but were forced to change course after the move generated massive backlash.
Volunteers organized in-person protests and petition deliveries at district offices last week as national attention has focused on five Democrats on the committee, four of whom––Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), and Kurt Schraeder (D-OR) are among the few Democrats who have not cosponsored HR 1644. Darren Soto (D-FL) is a cosponsor of the bill but indicated during a recent hearing that he was open to amendments that could weaken the bill. All five of these members have taken significant contributions from the telecom industry.
“Politicians seem to still be under the false impression that they put the interests of giant telecom companies ahead of the basic rights of their constituents and get away with it,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, the digital rights group organizing the protest, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant, so we’re going to make sure that when they go to vote they know the whole Internet is watching their every move. The overwhelming majority of voters want real net neutrality protections restored, they’re not going to tolerate any funny business or trojan horse amendments pushed for by telecom lobbyists.”
The House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding a hearing right now about the Save the Internet Act, the only bill in Congress that truly restores net neutrality. But cable-funded politicians and Comcast lobbyists are already pushing to kill the bill before it even gets out of committee. We need to flood them with phone calls so they know the whole Internet is watching!
Here’s a list of the committee members. Contact them on twitter or call their offices. Remind them that people from across the political spectrum overwhelmingly want Congress to restore net neutrality.
Michael F. Doyle PennsylvaniaJerry McNerney CaliforniaYvette D. Clarke New YorkDavid Loebsack Iowa Marc A. Veasey TexasDonald McEachin VirginiaDarren Soto FloridaTom O'Halleran Arizona Anna G. Eshoo CaliforniaDiana DeGette ColoradoG. K. Butterfield North CarolinaDoris O. Matsui CaliforniaVice Chair
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 12, 2019 Contact: Evan Greer, +1-978-852-6457, email@example.com
Groups behind BattleForTheNet.com pledge to call, text, and email constituents of lawmakers who fail to cosponsor net neutrality bill before leaving DC for recess.
Today, activists behind BattleForTheNet.com launched an updated Congressional “scoreboard” showing where every member of Congress stands on the Save The Internet Act to overturn the FCC’s repeal of basic open Internet protections. The announcement comes as Communications and Technology subcommittee members convene on Capitol Hill to discuss net neutrality legislation. The activists have given lawmakers until COB March 15th–right before they leave for the March in-district recess–to cosponsor the bill, otherwise groups promise to unleash a flood of calls, emails, and tweets from their district.
The updated scoreboard shows which members of Congress truly support net neutrality by cosponsoring the Save the Internet Act, and reveals how much they’ve taken in campaign contributions from telecom companies. The scoreboard is a project of BattleForTheNet.com, a net neutrality action site maintained by Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, and Free Press Action Fund.
Today’s announcement also comes on the heels of a new crowdfunding campaign launched by Fight for the Future late last night to put up a billboard in Phoenix targeting Senator Kyrsten Sinema, the only Democratic member of the Senate who has not cosponsored the bill.
“Enough is enough. There are absolutely no excuses for not supporting this bill,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future (pronouns: she/her). “Voters from across the political spectrum are pissed off and have made it very clear that they want strong net neutrality rules back in place as soon as possible. At this point, members of Congress can consider themselves on notice: if you choose to put the telecom giants ahead of your constituents, we will make sure that every single one of your constituents knows you sold them out for cable money. You have until close of business on Friday, March 15th.”
“It is unreal that there is any member of Congress who is still on the wrong side of this issue,” said Free Press Action Fund Campaign Director Candace Clement. “The Save The Internet Act is exactly the right way to safeguard Net Neutrality. It draws on the overwhelming bipartisan support for real Net Neutrality, including support among vast majorities of Republican, Democratic and independent voters. And it fixes the Trump FCC’s massive mistake when it repealed the Open Internet Order in 2017. People, by the millions, protested that FCC decision, and they’ve rejected the empty rhetoric and lies of phone- and cable-industry lobbyists. It’s time every member of Congress did the same and joined us in support of the Save The Internet Act.”
“For lawmakers who claim to stand for their constituents and against special interests in Washington, supporting this bill should be one of the easiest things they do this year,” said Mark Stanley, director of communications for Demand Progress. “The Save the Internet Act restores strong net neutrality protections that benefit every person who depends on the open internet to access information, communicate, or run a small business. The tired attacks hurled at this bill and similar measures have proven to be based on industry-backed lies, time and again. Simply put, there’s no excuse — every lawmaker should get behind the Save the Internet Act to restore crucial and commonsense protections for their constituents.”
Sinema is the only Democratic member of the Senate who hasn’t signed on to the Save the Internet Act
Digital rights group Fight for the Future has launched a crowdfunding campaign to put up a billboard in Phoenix targeting Senator Kyrsten Sinema, the only Democratic member of the US Senate who has not cosponsored the Save the Internet Act––common sense legislation that would reverse the FCC’s resoundingly unpopular repeal of net neutrality.
Sinema, who took more than $134,046 in campaign contributions from the telecom industry as a member of the House, was also one of the very few Democratic holdouts who refused to sign on to a resolution in support of net neutrality last year.
“There’s no excuse for not supporting this bill,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future (pronouns: she/her). “Voters from across the political spectrum are outraged and overwhelmingly want their elected officials to support real net neutrality protections. Senator Sinema needs to decide right now whether the corporate donations she’s getting from Comcast and AT&T are really worth the cost of being seen as a telecom shill and one of the most corrupt members of her party. We’re crowdfunding this billboard so she knows that there’s nowhere to hide––she can do the right thing or be sure that the entire Internet will know she sold them out.”
Fight for the Future is pressuring lawmakers from both parties in the House and Senate to cosponsor the Save the Internet Act, which would restore all of the key protections that were repealed by Ajit Pai. They’ve updated the Congressional scoreboard at BattleForTheNet.comand are already driving thousands of emails and calls to lawmakers ahead of a House hearing tomorrow.
Organizers are demonstrating at SXSW conference with a “confessional booth” calling on the tech employees to blow the whistle on unethical practices in Silicon Valley.
Activists have brought a confession booth adorned with banners reading, “Tech Confession Booth” and “Confess your Silicon Valley Sins & Receive Forgiveness” complete with a “priest” to preach to the masses of tech workers who attend the yearly festival. The stunt comes on the heels of Fight for the Future launching the SpeakOut.tech resource hub and campaign calling on Silicon Valley employees to blow the whistle on unethical uses of technology, government surveillance invasions of privacy, and more.
The booth is turning heads outside parties and events sponsored by Google, Facebook, and other big tech companies, humorously calling for Silicon Valley employees to blow the whistle on corporate wrongdoing, government surveillance, and unethical uses of technology.
“We did this to get people laughing and thinking about what secrets lie in Silicon Valley,” said Jelani Drew, campaigner for Fight for the Future, “but we also know there is nothing funny about tech companies helping violate human rights. That’s why we also included SpeakOut.tech handouts and the ‘I support whistleblowers’ photo prop. We want tech employees to blow the whistle on tech company wrongdoing and know they are not alone.”