WASHINGTON––Today the U.S. Senate voted to advance Trade Promotion Authority legislation to "Fast Track" the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. Digital rights groups, startups, and tech companies condemned the decision, pointing to the extreme secrecy of the trade negotiations process and Internet policy provisions that would stifle innovation, decrease online privacy, and open the door for global Internet censorship.
More than 7,500 startups, websites, and tech companies have joined an online protest against the bill, and Internet activists have driven more than 7,000 phone calls and 77,000 emails to Congress in recent weeks.
Fight for the Future, a leading technology policy nonprofit best known for its role in the massive SOPA blackouts and the Internet Slowdown protest for net neutrality, issued the following statement, which can be attributed to campaign director Evan Greer:
Today the U.S. Senate put the entire Internet in danger by voting to advance anti-democratic Fast Track legislation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). But fortunately the entire Internet is coming together to sound the alarm, and tens of thousands of concerned netizens are contacting their lawmakers to demand that they stand up for free speech and online privacy by opposing the broken "Fast Track" process and call for the release of the TPP text.
The future of the Internet is too important to be decided in secret or through backroom deals and Senate horse-trading. "Fast Track" and the TPP have nothing to do with "free trade." This obscure and bureaucratic process is being used by industry lobbyists quietly push for extreme policies that the public would never accept if they were proposed openly.
This should be clear: any member of Congress who votes for Fast Track / Trade Promotion Authority is voting against the basic rights of every Internet user in the world. They should take a look at recent history from SOPA to net neutrality: hell hath no fury like the Internet scorned.
Fight for the Future has been one of the forefront groups opposing both Fast Track and the TPP and built the prominent StopFastTrack.com web page.
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 Wyden signed by more than 25 companies including reddit and imgur opposing Fast Track legislation.