Public interest groups and platforms seek support to relaunch BattleForTheNet.com as the open internet faces direct attack
Today, leading pro-net neutrality public interest groups announced a crowdfunding campaign to support the relaunch of BattleForTheNet.com and efforts to organize one million people to stand up for net neutrality over the next month. Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Free Press, Center for Media Justice, and 18MillionRising.org will co-steward this work. BattleForTheNet.com has been the main online activism hub for the fight for net neutrality, which is the principle that internet traffic should be free from discrimination. Platforms including Boing Boing will also urge their users to support the campaign.
See the GoFundMe campaign and video here: https://www.gofundme.com/lets-save-net-neutrality-again
In 2014, as the big cable industry—one of the most politically entrenched and powerful lobbying forces in the world—continued its years-long push to end net neutrality, activists harnessed the power of the internet to fight back, and BattleForTheNet.com was a critical tool. Through these efforts, the online public won the FCC’s landmark 2015 Open Internet Order. As the new FCC commences its efforts to roll back protections, activists are making it clear that they will redouble their efforts to protect net neutrality.
BattleForTheNet.com has served as a crucial resource, informing the public and providing tools to contact policymakers in Washington. It served as the hub for the Internet Slowdown Day during which major sites like reddit, Netflix, Tumblr—and thousands of smaller sites—came together to drive more than one million emails and phone calls to the FCC and Congress. Ultimately, the grassroots support generated through BattleForTheNet.com helped ensure the Federal Communications Commission enacted the strongest net neutrality protections in history.
Now, with today’s announcement from FCC chair and former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai that he will seek to reverse the FCC’s decision to classify ISPs under Title II—a decision that provides the legal foundation for strong net neutrality —relaunching BattleForTheNet.com will be vital to organizing and preserving the net neutrality protections that activists, startups, companies and organizations from across the political spectrum have secured.
"Net neutrality advocates can’t match the lobbying dollars spent by the country’s cable monopolies and duopolies, but we clearly have the public on our side," said Demand Progress executive director David Segal. "In recent years, millions have mobilized to stand up for an open internet, which is critical to our democracy. Now, with Chairman Pai announcing his intentions to roll back net neutrality protections, advocates will again use the internet to save the internet. BattleForTheNet.com will be the hub for the fight against Big Cable companies’ efforts to elevate their own profits over the public’s free speech — and we need the public’s support so we can compete with the cable lobby’s deep pockets."
"When the Internet is under attack, we fight back," said Craig Aaron, president and CEO of Free Press. "Pai’s move threatens to erase one of the most important victories for the public in the FCC’s history, to defang a needed watchdog, and to leave people everywhere at the mercy of the country’s most-hated phone and cable companies. We are banding together again with our allies to defend the Internet and to protect the rights of dissenting voices, social justice advocates, up-and-coming artists, and innovative businesses everywhere."
"The Internet, protected by the current net neutrality rules, has enabled the mothers of children killed by police to demand an end to police violence; it has enabled undocumented students to urge changes to our broken immigration system. It’s provided the opportunity for new Black voices in the arts to bypass Hollywood gatekeepers. That’s why we have so much to lose if Trump’s FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, has his way. The only solution that protects the digital voice and rights of communities of color is vigorous enforcement of the rules we fought to get passed by the FCC two years ago. That’s what we and our allies will continue to demand. There’s too much at stake to accept anything less," said the Center for Media Justice executive director Malkia Cyril.
"The Internet has given more people a voice than ever before. It’s the most powerful tool we have to expose corruption and hold governments and powerful institutions accountable," said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, "By attacking net neutrality, the basic free speech protections that have made the Internet what it is today, Team Cable’s puppet chairman Ajit Pai is not just threatening the future of the Internet, but the future of democracy and freedom of expression. Hell hath no fury like the Internet scorned. We’ll fight tooth and nail to defend net neutrality and keep the web free from censorship," she added.
"The internet has long been a key part of creative and civic life for immigrant communities like ours," said Cayden Mak, director of 18MillionRising.org. "Gutting net neutrality protections fundamentally threatens the way that Asian American communities function. From helping us distribute our own music, movies, and art depicting our experiences, to keeping us connected to family and friends across the globe, a free and open internet has long helped Asian Americans understand who we are. We’re ready to fight again to defend free expression online."
"We need Battle for the Net and the organizations behind it now more than ever to ensure that the Trump FCC doesn’t kill the net neutrality rules. Their work was absolutely critical to getting the strongest-ever net neutrality rules in place in 2015 when I was at the FCC. Their ability to educate, energize and activate the general public will be the key to ensuring a free and open Internet” said Gigi Sohn, former counselor to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.
“Network discrimination is one of those issues that’s wonky and boring enough that you’d think it would slide past under the radar of public opinion, but it’s so obviously egregious and terrible in every way that everyone who gets it is seized by inexhaustible fury, to the enduring surprise of dingo babysitters like Pai," said Cory Doctorow, of Boing Boing.