WASHINGTON, DC –– Yesterday, the Senate voted against advancing Trade Promotion Authority legislation, more commonly known as "Fast Track." Fight for the Future, a digital rights group that has been rallying websites and Internet users to oppose Fast Track and has driven tens of thousands of contacts to Congress in recent weeks, released the following statement, which can be attributed to campaign director Evan Greer:
The writing is on the wall, the only question left is whether our lawmakers can read it. It’s obvious that people from across the political spectrum overwhelmingly oppose secretive trade negotiations, "Fast Track" legislation, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
A few months ago, Fast Track looked inevitable. But as people across the country learned that government bureaucrats and corporate lobbyists were trying to legislate through backroom deals with virtually no public oversight, they stood up in massive numbers. When it became clear that Fast Track and the TPP would be detrimental to Internet freedom, thousands of websites and tech companies joined the fight as well.
People, advocacy groups, and startups are uniting against Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership because policies that could lead to decreased online privacy, stifled innovation, and global Internet censorship affect everyone. This isn’t a battle between "liberals" and the Obama administration. It’s a battle between the overwhelming majority of people and small businesses that stand to lose if this deal goes through, and a few select industries that have been spending millions lobbying to protect their own power at the expense of everyone’s basic rights.
Fight for the Future, a group that was founded in the lead up to the fight against SOPA, has been one of the most active online groups opposing Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. They were lead organizers of the Internet Vote, which has generated more than 6,500 phone calls and 75,000 emails to Congress, and gathered the support of more than 7,500 websites and tech companies. They also built the StopFastTrack.com coalition site, which has garnered the support of more than 100 organizations working on a wide range of issues.
Last month, Fight for the Future made national headlines when they followed Senator Ron Wyden around his home state of Oregon with a 30’ blimp as part of ongoing protests against Fast Tracking the TPP. They also parked a JUMBOTRON on Capitol Hill as part of an anti-Fast Track film fest. Last year, the group delivered a letter to Senator Ron Wyden signed by more than 25 companies including reddit and imgur opposing Fast Track legislation.