Trade group representing Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Netflix endorses non-transparent, anti-user agreement that promotes censorship
Today the Internet Association, a trade group representing major web companies including Google, Twitter, and Facebook, endorsed the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP). Leading digital rights group Fight for the Future launched an online campaign in response, calling for the companies to drop their misguided support, and issued the following statement, which can be attributed to campaign director Evan Greer:
This is when we find out which tech companies really support their users’ basic rights and which ones are only pretending to.
The TPP is an anti-user, anti-Internet agreement. It was negotiated in almost complete secrecy by corporate lobbyists and government bureaucrats––including the ones who pushed Internet censorship bills like SOPA.
The TPP exports the worst parts of the United States’ broken copyright system without ensuring protections for freedom of expression, innovation, and human rights. It’s great for incumbent monopolies, but terrible for individual Internet users, startups, and the tech community as a whole.
We call on all member companies of the Internet Association to disavow this misguided position and stand with their users. Secretive trade agreements are unacceptable venues for making policy that affects billions of Internet users. The customers of these companies expect and deserve better.
UPDATE: Moments before Fight for the Future launched its campaign, reddit, one of the most popular sites on the Internet and a member of the Internet Association, issued a tweet distancing themselves from the association’s position, saying they do not support the TPP. reddit has supported Fight for the Future’s campaigns against the TPP in the past. Cloud-computing firm Salesforce also confirmed in an email to Fight for the Future that they have not taken an official position on the TPP, casting doubt that there is consensus in support of Internet Association’s statement even among its member companies.
Fight for the Future is a digital rights non-profit best known for organizing some of the largest online protests in history including the massive Internet blackout against SOPA, the Internet Slowdown for net neutrality, and the Reset the Net campaign against government surveillance.
Last year, Fight for the Future organized a fierce online backlash to tech companies who signed on to a letter endorsing the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA,) which lead to many of those companies dropping support for the bill, including Salesforce, Apple, Dropbox, and Google. Later, the group released a scorecard grading companies based on their positions on privacy and security.
Fight for the Future has been active in campaigning against the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, helping organize the StopFastTrack.com coalition that successfully delayed the passage of Trade Promotion Authority legislation, bringing together a unique group of tech companies, unions, environmental groups, and others opposing the secretive trade deal. The group even captured headlines when it flew a 30’ blimp over several of Senator Ron Wyden’s town hall meetings calling for the Senator to drop his support for Fast Tracking the TPP.