Fight for the Future


The evidence suggests that the FCC is likely wrong, or lying about claim of DDoS attacks at exact moment of John Oliver net neutrality segment

Posted 12:51 EDT on May 9, 2017
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, May 9, 2017
Contact: Evan Greer, press@fightforthefuture.org, 978-852-6457

Fight for the Future calls for the agency to release its logs to an independent analyst, guarantee that all comments will be counted

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continues to tell the press that it experienced a DDoS attack at the exact same time that comments would have started flooding in from John Oliver’s viral Last Week Tonight segment about net neutrality on Sunday night. They are now also claiming that they experienced a similar attack after Oliver’s segment on the issue in 2014. The agency has provided zero proof for either of these claims, in the face of the much more likely explanation: the FCC’s system is unprepared to handle large amounts of comments, and turned away tens of thousands of people trying to comment in support of net neutrality.

Here’s what we know:

-The FCC’s servers went down again on Monday night around 8:30pm EST, shortly after the John Oliver segment re-aired on HBO. (See screenshots of our logs showing these errors at the bottom of this post.)

-The FCC’s servers were having a variety of problems and went down repeatedly as a result of net neutrality comments in the weeks leading up to the John Oliver segment on Monday. Emails from FCC employees sent to Fight for the Future confirm that they were having “server issues.”

-In 2014 and 2015 the FCC’s website crashed several times under the weight of net neutrality comments from the public.

-It can be difficult to distinguish a DDoS attack from a large amount of traffic coming from legitimately concerned citizens looking to file a comment. If the FCC was able to determine that this was a malicious attack, they must have some proof of that, and they should immediately disclose that to the public to verify their claims.

-The FCC now claims that they have upgraded their site to a “cloud service,” which is consistent with our suspicion that their servers simply buckled under the pressure and they are only now upgrading them, likely after silencing large numbers of pro-net neutrality commenters.

Here is our original statement, which can be attributed to campaign director, Evan Greer, (pronouns: she/hers)

“The FCC’s statement today raises a lot of questions, and the agency should act immediately to ensure that voices of the public are not being silenced as it considers a move that would affect every single person that uses the Internet.

There are two possible scenarios and they are both concerning:

  1. FCC is being intentionally misleading, and trying to claim that the surge in traffic from large numbers of people attempting to access following John Oliver’s segment amounts to a “DDoS” attack, in order to let themselves off the hook for essentially silencing large numbers of people by not having a properly functioning site to receive comments from the public about an important issue, or

  2. Someone actually did DDoS the FCC’s site at the exact same time as John Oliver’s segment, in order to actively prevent people from commenting in support of keeping the Title II net neutrality rules that millions of people fought for in 2015.

Given Ajit Pai’s open hostility toward net neutrality, and the telecom industry’s long history of astroturfing and paying shady organizations to do their dirty work, either of these scenarios should be concerning for anyone who cares about government transparency, free speech, and the future of the Internet.

The FCC should immediately release its logs to an independent security analyst or major news outlet to verify exactly what happened last night. The public deserves to know, and the FCC has a responsibility to maintain a functioning website and ensure that every member of the public who wants to submit a comment about net neutrality has the ability to do so. Anything less is a subversion of our democracy.”

Fight for the Future was instrumental in the massive grassroots campaign that successfully pushed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to enact the strongest net neutrality protections in US. history last year. They built the page BattleForTheNet.com, which was responsible for more than ¼ of all the net neutrality comments received by the FCC during its feedback process, and were behind the Internet Slowdown protest, which was supported by more than 40,000 websites including some of the largest on the Web like Kickstarter, Etsy, Netflix, and Tumblr.  

The group also helped take the fight for net neutrality into the streets with creative protest campaigns like Occupy the FCC and the nationwide Internet Emergency protests.

Fight for the Future is best known for their role in the massive online protests against SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, and continues to organize many of the largest protests in the history of the Internet. Over the summer, they organized the high profile Rock Against the TPP tour featuring many celebrities and well known musicians. Learn more at FightFortheFuture.org

Screenshots (PDT timezone) of logs from BattleForTheNet.com showing the FCC’s site went down last night after John Oliver segment re-aired on HBO:

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FCC’s claim that site was hacked during John Oliver’s viral net neutrality segment raises questions

Posted 17:15 EDT on May 8, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, May 8, 2017
Contact: Evan Greer, press@fightforthefuture.org, 978-852-6457

Fight for the Future calls for the agency to release its logs to an independent analyst, guarantee that all comments will be counted

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a press release claiming that it’s website was hacked with a DDoS attack at the exact same time that comments would have started flooding in from John Oliver’s viral Last Week Tonight segment about net neutrality on Sunday night. The media widely reported that the surge in comments from the segment crashed the FCC’s site, which also happened several times during the massive grassroots mobilization that led to the current FCC rules in 2014 and 2015.

Fight for the Future, a leading digital rights group that has organized some of the largest actions in support of net neutrality, issued the following statement, which can be attributed to Campaign Director Evan Greer (pronouns: she/hers:)

“The FCC’s statement today raises a lot of questions, and the agency should act immediately to ensure that voices of the public are not being silenced as it considers a move that would affect every single person that uses the Internet.

There are two possible scenarios and they are both concerning:

  1. The FCC is being intentionally misleading, and trying to claim that the surge in traffic from large numbers of people attempting to access following John Oliver’s segment amounts to a “DDoS” attack, in order to let themselves off the hook for essentially silencing large numbers of people by not having a properly functioning site to receive comments from the public about an important issue, or 

  2. Someone actually did DDoS the FCC’s site at the exact same time as John Oliver’s segment, in order to actively prevent people from commenting in support of keeping the Title II net neutrality rules that millions of people fought for in 2015.

Given Ajit Pai’s open hostility toward net neutrality, and the telecom industry’s long history of astroturfing and paying shady organizations to do their dirty work, either of these scenarios should be concerning for anyone who cares about government transparency, free speech, and the future of the Internet.

The FCC should immediately release its logs to an independent security analyst or major news outlet to verify exactly what happened last night. The public deserves to know, and the FCC has a responsibility to maintain a functioning website and ensure that every member of the public who wants to submit a comment about net neutrality has the ability to do so. Anything less is a subversion of our democracy.”

Fight for the Future was instrumental in the massive grassroots campaign that successfully pushed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to enact the strongest net neutrality protections in US. history last year. They built the page BattleForTheNet.com, which was responsible for more than ¼ of all the net neutrality comments received by the FCC during its feedback process, and were behind the Internet Slowdown protest, which was supported by more than 40,000 websites including some of the largest on the Web like Kickstarter, Etsy, Netflix, and Tumblr.  

The group also helped take the fight for net neutrality into the streets with creative protest campaigns like Occupy the FCC and the nationwide Internet Emergency protests.

Fight for the Future is best known for their role in the massive online protests against SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, and continues to organize many of the largest protests in the history of the Internet. Over the summer, they organized the high profile Rock Against the TPP tour featuring many celebrities and well known musicians. Learn more at FightFortheFuture.org

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Crowdfunded billboards appear in districts of lawmakers who voted to gut Internet privacy and allow ISPs to sell consumer data

Posted 10:31 EDT on May 3, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, May 3, 2017
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

“You Betrayed Us” billboards unveiled today targeting Congress members Blackburn, Flake, Rutherford, and Heller

Today Internet activists unleashed billboards in the districts of lawmakers who take large contributions from the telecom industry and voted in March to slash Internet privacy protections, allowing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon to collect and sell their customer’s personal information without permission.

The billboards were organized by Fight for the Future, a leading anti-censorship and digital rights organization, and paid for through hundreds of small donations collected through a crowdfunding page.

See photos of some of the billboards here: http://imgur.com/a/jgdhJ

“Congress voting to gut Internet privacy was one of the most blatant displays of corruption in recent history,” said Tiffiniy Cheng, co-founder of Fight for the Future, “They might think that they’ve gotten away with it, but they’re wrong. These billboards are just the latest example of the growing public backlash to these attacks on our Internet freedom and privacy.”

“Members of Congress who help monopolies get richer while undermining our online privacy and attacking net neutrality will soon see that they can’t hide from the public on these issues,” she added, “Everyone who drives by one of these billboards will know exactly how much money these lawmakers took in exchange for selling off their basic right to use the web safely, and handing their most personal information to advertisers.”

By using the CRA to gut the FCC broadband privacy rules, these lawmakers voted to allow Internet Service Providers to:

  • Monitor and sell customer’s location data, search history, app usage, and browsing habits to advertisers without your permission
  • Hijack customer’s search results, redirecting their traffic to paying third parties
  • Insert ads into web pages that would otherwise not have them

Fight for the Future was instrumental in the massive grassroots campaign that successfully pushed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to enact the strongest net neutrality protections in US. history last year. They built the page BattleForTheNet.com, which was responsible for more than ¼ of all the net neutrality comments received by the FCC during its feedback process, and were behind the Internet Slowdown protest, which was supported by more than 40,000 websites including some of the largest on the Web like Kickstarter, Etsy, Netflix, and Tumblr.  

The group also helped take the fight for net neutrality into the streets with creative protest campaigns like Occupy the FCC and the nationwide Internet Emergency protests.

Fight for the Future is best known for their role in the massive online protests against SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, and continues to organize many of the largest protests in the history of the Internet. Over the summer, they organized the high profile Rock Against the TPP tour featuring many celebrities and well known musicians. Learn more at FightFortheFuture.org

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Crowdfunding Campaign Launches to Save Net Neutrality

Posted 16:51 EDT on April 26, 2017

Public interest groups and platforms seek support to relaunch BattleForTheNet.com as the open internet faces direct attack

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, April 26, 2017
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

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.

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BREAKING: Verizon lawyer turned FCC chairman announces plan to slash net neutrality, Internet activists will fight him tooth and nail

Posted 14:47 EDT on April 26, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, April 26, 2017
Contact: Evan Greer, press@fightforthefuture.org, 978-852-6457

WASHINGTON, DC –  At an event in Washington, DC today Ajit Pai, former Verizon lawyer and new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), announced his plan to ignore the voices of millions of Americans and slash the Title II based net neutrality protections that prevent Internet Service Providers from discriminating against, censoring, or slowing down websites.

Fight for the Future, a nonpartisan digital rights organization that has lead the largest online protests in history in support of Internet freedom, issued the following statement, which can be attributed to campaign director Evan Greer (pronouns: she/hers:)

“Ajit Pai isn’t even trying to hide the fact that he’s a puppet bureaucrat doing the bidding of companies like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon (his former employer.) Moving so quickly to slash the protections that millions of Internet users from across the political spectrum fought for is a slap in the face to democracy and poses a serious threat to the future of freedom of expression.

Pai’s speech was an insult to the intelligence of internet users. He attempts to portray basic free speech protections as heavy handed government regulation.

Net neutrality is the First Amendment of the Internet. By ignoring what the public wants and attacking Title II open Internet rules, the FCC is playing with fire and potentially opening the floodgates for widespread censorship.

Paving over the Internet into fast lanes for those who can afford to pay and slow lanes for the rest of us will turn the Web into a place where the wealthiest and most powerful can be heard, while ordinary people and alternative voices are drowned out.

If Ajit Pai thinks that destroying net neutrality is going to be easy, he has another thing coming. Internet users will fight tooth and nail to defend our basic right to connect, create, learn, and share.”

Fight for the Future was instrumental in the massive grassroots campaign that successfully pushed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to enact the strongest net neutrality protections in US. history last year. They built the page BattleForTheNet.com, which was responsible for more than ¼ of all the net neutrality comments received by the FCC during its feedback process, and were behind the Internet Slowdown protest, the largest online protest since SOPA, which drove nearly 1 million comments to the FCC and hundreds of thousands of phone calls to Congress in a single day, and was supported by more than 40,000 websites including Kickstarter, Etsy, Netflix, and Tumblr.  

The group also helped take the fight for net neutrality into the streets with creative protest campaigns like Occupy the FCC and the nationwide Internet Emergency protests, and bombarded the FCC with phone calls from CallTheFCC.org

Fight for the Future is best known for their role in the massive online protests against SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, and continues to organize many of the largest protests in the history of the Internet. Over the summer, they organized the high profile Rock Against the TPP tour featuring many celebrities and well known musicians. Learn more at FightFortheFuture.org

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