This week in California digital rights and labor activists appeared before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) at public hearings in Fresno, Los Angeles and San Diego to warn that that the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint would to higher cell phone prices and worse plans for mobile phone users. The hearings come on the heels of a major DC scandal where T-Mobile executives were caught repeatedly staying at the Trump hotel while the merger awaited the president’s approval.
The hearings took place Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week and followed a new report from the CPUC’s Public Advocate’s Office warning that the merger would provide significant harm to California residents due to higher cell phone costs. Opposition to the deal is mounting and over 10,000 Californians have signed petitions opposing the deal. Signatures were collected by advocacy groups including Fight for the Future, Center for Media Justice, Common Cause, Demand Progress, and Free Press.
If the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint is approved, it will reduce the number of national mobile phone providers from four to three, which experts warn will lead to higher prices and worse offerings. Research on mobile markets from Europe shows the presence of a fourth provider is very important for prices, as countries with only three carriers pay twice as much for data as those with four.
Adrian Martinez, Membership Organizer at the Center for Media Justice and Los Angeles resident, stood before the CPUC at a hearing this week and said, “I am a T-Mobile customer, and am concerned about the impacts that this merger will have on poor people, communities of color, workers, and rural communities.” You can read their full statement here.
Earlier this month, Fight for the Future launched a new campaign platform to fight the T-Mobile / Sprint merger at https://www.thismergerwillmakeyourcellphonebillmoreexpensive.com/. So far over 15,000 people from across the country have taken action to oppose the deal. The deal is currently under review by the FCC and DOJ, who are expected to rule on the deal in the coming months.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, January 11, 2010 Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fight for the Future demands a federal investigation into carriers’ reckless misuse of user data and call on Congress to pass strong data protection legislation.
A disturbing report published earlier this week revealed that cell phone providers like AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile were selling access to customers’ location data. Since then, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon voluntarily announced they will end relationships with third party “location aggregators” in statements to the press. Sprint has so far failed to make a similar commitment.
Responding to this week’s news Fight for the Future Deputy Director Evan Greer (pronouns: she/her) had this to say:
“The idea that a cell phone company is selling users’ location data with absolutely no way to opt-out is terrifying. Think about what a stalker, an employer, or a jealous ex could do with access to this kind of information. It’s great that the carriers are promising not to sell access to their users’ location data anymore, but we need more than pinky-swears; T-Mobile CEO John Legere made a promise just like this in June and was just caught breaking it. We’re glad to see that certain senators are speaking up about this but, given how much money Congress has taken from the telecom companies, we know they will only take action if we make them. We need a full-fledged federal investigation into what they’ve been up to and who they’ve put at risk. Congress needs to investigate what happened and make this practice illegal as soon as possible.”
Earlier this week, Fight for the Future launched an online petition demanding a federal investigation into this shady business practice, and is now calling on Congress to ban the sale of sensitive, personal information via strong data protection legislation.
As the new Congress is sworn in, the clock has run out for sitting lawmakers to sign on to the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to reverse the FCC’s resoundingly unpopular repeal of net neutrality. But the fight to restore the free and open Internet is far from over.
Fight for the Future, one of the nation’s leading digital rights organizations that has spearheaded the fight for net neutrality, issued the following statement, which can be attributed to Deputy Director, Evan Greer (pronouns: she/her):
“We just shined a giant spotlight on corruption in Congress. Every single lawmaker who voted against the CRA in the Senate or failed to sign on to the discharge petition in the House has exposed themselves as industry puppets. They put the interests of telecom giants like Comcast and AT&T over the basic rights of their constituents.
We used the CRA as a powerful tool to get lawmakers on the record. Pundits claimed it would never pass the Senate –– but we channeled Internet outrage into real political power and got more than enough votes. If House leadership had allowed a vote on the CRA, we likely would have won that too. Instead, we used a discharge petition to get a record number of lawmakers publicly in support of strong net neutrality protections.
The CRA was a simple up or down vote on the free and open Internet. Now that the clock has run out, every single American knows exactly where their representatives stand.
Ajit Pai’s feeble attempt to celebrate the passing of the CRA deadline is laughable. His claim that broadband speeds are up is the tech policy equivalent of “it’s snowing outside, therefore climate change is a hoax.”
Dozens of anti-net neutrality members of Congress have already lost their jobs, and supporters of the open Internet will soon chair the key committees that provide oversight for the FCC. Ajit Pai won’t be laughing long when he has finally has to answer questions like why his agency lied to the media about a DDoS attack that never happened.
It’s an uphill battle, but we are winning the fight to restore net neutrality. The Internet freedom movement is stronger than it’s ever been as we head into 2019. We’ll keep fighting in the states, in the courts, and in Congress. It’s only a matter of time before net neutrality is the law of the land again.”
Reps Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA) and Brenda Jones (D-MI) are the latest to sign on to CRA discharge petition ahead of Friday deadline
Pressure is reaching a boiling point as Internet users continue sounding the alarm ahead of the deadline for members of Congress to show they support real net neutrality protections by signing on to the discharge petition for the CRA resolution to reverse the FCC’s repeal.
Representative Brenda Jones, who won a special election to succeed John Conyers in Michigan, just became the latest House rep to sign on. Her name appears next to Rep Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), who has now officially signed on to the discharge petition after facing a flurry of angry phone calls and messages from constituents when she put out a video last week saying she wouldn’t sign.
Internet activist group Fight for the Future has been using the page DemsAgainstThe.Netto highlight the handful of remaining Democrats who are the only members of their party who have not signed on to the CRA. And online actions surrounding the open letter atDeadlineForNetNeutrality.com have been amplified by celebrities like Tom Morello, Evangeline Lilly, and Bassnectar, along with companies like Tumblr, Etsy, Postmates, and Reddit. The group also deployed a mobile billboard in Washington, DC that cycled through the faces of every member of Congress who has not signed the CRA.
“The fight for net neutrality is far from over, but time is running out for members of Congress to make decision: do they want to go down in history as the corrupt politicians who rubber stamped the repeal of net neutrality? Or will they sign on to the CRA discharge petition and show that they’re willing to put their constituents’ basic rights ahead of their corporate donors,” said Evan Greer, Deputy Director of Fight for the Future (pronouns: she/her).
Last week, on the one year anniversary of the FCC repeal, the groupissued a blog post explaining the path ahead for net neutrality beyond the CRA resolution. Fight for the Future will continue to push in Congress, in the states, and in the courts, until net neutrality is restored.
The crowd-funded billboard will travel around the U.S. Capitol and comes on the one year anniversary of the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality protections.
WASHINGTON, D.C—Today, on the one year anniversary of the FCC’s resoundingly unpopular repeal of net neutrality, Fight for the Future has launched a mobile digital billboard which will circle the Capitol grounds for more than 8 hours on Friday exposing the lawmakers who have put the interests of giant telecom companies over those of their constituents by refusing to sign on to the House resolution to restore open Internet protections..
PHOTOS and VIDEO of the billboard can be found here.
Watch/Embed the raw full video that will play on the billboard here.
The billboard features the individual face of every congress member who has betrayed net neutrality by remaining absent from the CRA discharge petition and the total amount of money they have taken in campaign contributions from big ISPs like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon.
Following each congress member the video billboard will display photos of constituents who signed an open letter to Congress and submitted photos in support of net neutrality. The billboard will also direct users to BattleForTheNet.com where they can see how their lawmakers scores on net neutrality.
“One year later Internet users are still royally pissed off about the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality, and they’re paying close attention to where their elected officials stand on the free and open Internet” said Evan Greer, Deputy Director of Fight for the Future, “Lawmakers have no excuse. Signing on to the CRA discharge petition is the clearest way to show support for real net neutrality protections. It’s a simple up or down vote on the future of the free and open web. Any rep who doesn’t sign is making it clear that they don’t really support net neutrality, and would rather take money from big telecom companies than side with the overwhelming majority of voters from across the political spectrum. Regardless of what happens in this Congress, a year after the FCC repeal we are in a strong position to restore net neutrality, and we’ll continue the fight in 2019 in Congress, in the courts, and in the states. ”
Lawmakers have until the end of the Congressional session to show that they support real net neutrality protections by signing on to the discharge petition. Three reps have signed on in recent weeks: Joe Morelle (D-NY), Susan Wild (D-PA), and Frederica Wilson (D-FL). Yesterday, Rep Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA) announced that she will sign on to the discharge petition after she faced massive online backlash for posting a video saying she wasn’t going to. Fight for the Future launched DemsAgainstThe.Net, a campaign shining a spotlight on the handful of remaining House Democrats who have failed to sign the petition, all of whom have taken large contributions from telecom companies, which has generated significant local and national media attention.
Earlier this month the Internet users from across the country were joined by companies like Etsy, Pinterest, and Postmates and celebrities like Alyssa Milano and Tom Morello for an Internet-wide day of action. Thousands took to DeadlineForNetNeutrality to sign an open letter to Congress containing a heartfelt plea to overturn the FCC’s repeal.
In the year since the FCC repeal, millions people have taken action through BattleForTheNet.com. Tens of thousands of Internet users, 7,000 small business owners, 4,600 US veterans, and thousands of first responders have signed on to open letters. Volunteers have organized hundreds of protests and in-person meetings with lawmakers in support of the CRA and more than 1.9 million phone calls have been made to Congress.
For more information, or for interviews with a Fight for the Future representative, please contact Evan Greer at 978-852-6457 or by email at email@example.com.
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Fight for the Future is a community of millions of people whose mission is to ensure that the web continues to hold freedom of expression and creativity at its core. We seek to expand the internet’s transformative power for good, to preserve and enhance its capacity to enrich, and empower. We envision a world where everyone can access the internet affordably, free of interference or censorship and with full privacy.