Fight for the Future and the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) release tool to fight censorship and throttling
As pressure mounts on Congress to overturn the FCC’s deeply unpopular vote to end net neutrality using the Congressional Review Act (CRA), open Internet activists are unleashing a new tool for Internet users to test their Internet connection and collectively help catch Internet Service Providers in the act if they’re meddling with Internet speeds or engaging in censorship.
“Internet users aren’t as gullible as Comcast and Verizon seem to think we are. We know they’ve been lobbying for the right to violate net neutrality and we know we can’t trust them. Now every Internet user will have a tool to start to transparently measure their ISPs behavior,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future (pronouns: she/hers), “With enough of us running these tests and sounding the alarm when there are violations, we can hold back the worst abuses while we fight to overturn the FCC’s illegitimate vote.”
The app, available on both Android and iPhone, enables a user to:
Measure the speed and performance of their network
Measure video streaming performance
Check whether and how websites are blocked
Find systems that could be responsible for censorship or surveillance
The tool was developed by the nonprofit Open Observatory of Network Interference(OONI) and is being spread to Internet users in partnership with Fight for the Future, a leading net neutrality advocacy group.
Advocates slam the misleading legislation for allowing ISPs to charge deep-pocketed firms expensive new “prioritization fees,” which would harm competition and free speech online
Tennessee House representative Marsha Blackburn has just announceda new “Open Internet Preservation Act,” which early reports suggest would not prevent Internet providers from engaging in “pay-to-play” paid prioritization schemes. The legislation comes on the heels of the Federal Communications Commission’s resoundingly unpopular December 14th decision to repeal common sense consumer protections, and is being slammed by net neutrality advocates.
Responding to Rep. Blackburn’s announcement, Fight for the Future Campaigns Director Evan Greer (pronouns she / her) had this to say:
“Marsha Blackburn is not fooling anyone. She’s so desperately out of touch with how the Internet works that it would be funny if she wasn’t in a position of power.
This is not real net neutrality legislation. It’s a poorly disguised slap in the face to Internet users from across the political spectrum. Blackburn’s bill would explicitly allow Internet providers to demand new fees from small businesses and Internet users, carving up the web into fast lanes and slow lanes. Changing the fundamental structure of the Internet in this way would be devastating for innovation, creativity, and free expression online.”
“Marsha Blackburn is the poster child for telecom funded corruption in Congress. Over her career she has raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from big ISPs. The last time her party followed her lead and voted to gut Internet privacy rules, they invoked the wrath of the Internet and sparked massive bipartisan backlash.
If the rest of Blackburn’s party doesn’t want to get dragged down with her, they need to oppose this blatantly bogus legislation and use their Congressional Review Act powers to reverse the FCC’s net neutrality repeal in its entirety. If they don’t they’ll pay the price come election time.”
On December 14th the FCC passed their extreme net neutrality repeal in 3-2 vote, despite widespread protests and overwhelming opposition from across the political spectrum.
Right now the the most important thing you can do is encourage lawmakers to use their Congressional Review Act (CRA) powers to undo the FCC’s repeal. We’re urging Internet users everywhere to contact Congress and demand this through BattleForTheNet.com or by texting BATTLE to 384-387.
The net neutrality fight is far from over and this movement has unbelievable momentum right now.
To give you a sense of what we’ve been able to accomplish in the months leading up to the FCC’s final vote, take a look at the infographic here: https://imgur.com/a/I1gJT
Today, the FCC is voted to gut net neutrality protections amid widespread protestsand overwhelmingopposition from across the political spectrum. Ajit Pai’s extreme proposal would hand giant telecom companies like Verizon and Comcast the power to control what we see and do online with new fees, throttling, and censorship. But that’s not going to happen.
The organizations behind BattleForTheNet.comand Team Internet (Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, and Free Press Action Fund) are announcing a massive Internet-wide campaign to demand that our elected officials in Congress use a Resolution of Disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn the FCC’s illegitimate rulemaking. The backlash to the FCC’s attack on the Internet has reached a boiling point. Now every member of Congress will have to go on the record and decide whether to stand up for the free and open Internet or face the political consequences of awakening its wrath in an election year.
A CRA only requires a simple majority in the Senate and House, increasingly within reach given the unprecedented backlash, and Republican lawmakers already publicly criticizing the plan.
The telecom industry spent millions lobbying and spreading misinformation to pit Internet users against each other and turn net neutrality into a partisan issue. They have failed. Net neutrality has more public support now than it ever has before. Internet users are educated, outraged, and strategic, and they know that Congress has the power to overturn the FCC vote. Lawmakers cannot hide from their constituents on this issue. The Internet has given ordinary people more power than ever before. We’re going to fight tooth and nail to make sure no one takes that power away.
In recent months, there have been more than 1 million phone calls to Congress through BattleForTheNet.com alone, and nearly half a million Internet users joined “Team Internet” and connected through text messages to engage in on-the-ground activism, including more than 1,000 protests, constituent meetings with lawmakers, and town halls across the country. Thousands of startups, small businesses, and major websites have participated in online actions that reached hundreds of millions of Internet users across the web.
The unprecedented public backlash to the FCC’s plan to slash Title II net neutrality protections continues to grow. And the pressure is working: Ajit Pai’s proposal is losing support with Republican lawmakers. The first GOP representative has just called on the FCCto delay their vote, and several others have criticized the plan.
After thousands of people took to the streetsto protest last week, the Internet is now ablaze in protest again as major websites like Reddit, Mozilla, Kickstarter, Pornhub, Pintrest, Etsy, and Tumblr, and Internet users across social media platforms #BreakTheInternetand flood Congress with phone calls, tweets, and emails. See screenshots of how the Internet is protestinghere.
The following statement can be attributed to Fight for the Future campaign director Evan Greer (pronouns she/her):
“Ajit Pai’s proposal to let Internet Service Providers control what Internet users can see and do online may get a vote this week, but he has already lost. The FCC’s planned net neutrality repeal has sparked an unprecedented backlash from Internet users across the political spectrum. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my life as a digital rights activist.
The telecom lobby spent millions trying to paint net neutrality as a partisan issue in order to get the Republican party to help end it. But this backlash shows that net neutrality is supported by people from across the political spectrum, and it’s so big that now even conservative or bought out lawmakers can no longer ignore calls from their own party’s constituents to protect the rules.
Internet users are furious, educated, and strategic. They know that Congress has the power to stop the FCC or overturn their decision. It’s impossible for lawmakers to hide from their constituents on this issue. As the widespread opposition to Pai’s proposal reaches a boiling point, millions of people, organizations, and online firms from the tiniest blogs and small businesses to some of the most popular websites in the world are jumping into the fray. And Congress is cracking under the pressure.
In the last week we’ve seen a slew of Republican lawmakers publicly speak out in support of net neutrality and criticize the FCC’s rush to dismantle it. Ajit Pai has created a political crisis for his own party. Congress members have read the writing on the wall. They’ve heard the droves of phone calls from their constituents. They’ve seen the power that the Internet has to defend itself.
The net neutrality movement is stronger today than it has ever been. Telecom lobbyists should enjoy a stiff drink this Thursday night, because they’ve awakened the fury of the Internet, and the American people are about to get Congress to put their dreams of new fees, throttling, and censorship to rest, for good.”
Fight for the Future will make a major announcement following the FCC’s vote. Members of our team are available for interview.