Net neutrality protests sweep the U.S. after FCC leaks "hybrid" proposal that fails to protect free speech
Hundreds of Internet users - holding their lit up cell phones and laptops aloft in protest - joined more than 30 demonstrations across the U.S. on Thursday night. They took to the streets in an outpouring of anger over reports that the Federal Communications Committee is planning to push a "hybrid" net neutrality proposal that opens the door for cable company censorship and abuse.
More than 100 people gathered in front of the White House in Washington, DC with light-up signs reading "SAVE THE INTERNET," chanting "Hey hey! Ho ho! Tom Wheeler has got to go." Crowds turned out in dozens of other cities as well including Boston, MA; San Francisco, CA; Philadelphia, PA; Anchorage, AK; Chicago, IL; and New York, NY.
See photos from the protests here: http://imgur.com/a/WD42O
See a short video from the White House protest here: http://youtu.be/gpaU7OnJDxE
"Internet users are outraged that President Obama and his FCC appointee are choosing to ignore the voices of millions of people who have called for strong net neutrality rules that protect free speech and are instead pushing a sham proposal that fails to protect our rights," said Evan Greer, Campaign Director of Fight for the Future, "These protests are just the beginning. I’ve never seen people turn out like this on such short notice. The President and the FCC should take warning: hell hath no fury like the Internet scorned."
The #InternetEmergency rapid-response protests were organized with just a few days notice by Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, Free Press, and PopularResistance.org, advocacy groups that played a pivotal role in the massive Internet Slowdown online protest last month that mobilized more than 40,000 websites and sent more than 700,000 comments to the FCC and 300,000 phone calls to Congress in support of Title II reclassification.
The protests were inspired in part by massive demonstrations that swept Hungary after the government their proposed an Internet Tax, where protesters held up their cell phones as a sign of protest. For the #InternetEmergency protests, Fight for the Future took the tactic a step further by creating ProtestSign.org, a website that allows anyone to turn their phone, laptop, or tablet into a net neutrality protest sign.