Fight for the Future

“We have four days to save the open Internet in Europe.” An open letter by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Professor Larry Lessig, and Professor Barbara van Schewick

Posted 15:30 EDT on July 14, 2016

Today, the inventor of the Word Wide Web Tim Berners-Lee, Larry Lessig, and Barbara van Schewick published an open letter to European citizens, law makers and regulators. Entitled “We have four days to save the open Internet in Europe,” the letter:

  • urges regulators to make changes in four key areas to secure meaningful net neutrality in Europe; and
  • urges Europeans to take action by participating in the public consultation.

Four days before the end of the public consultation on net neutrality in Europe, the letter could be a game-changer in the debate over the future of the Internet in Europe.

The letter is available here:

What’s happening & why it matters:

Last fall, the European Union adopted a net neutrality law that was widely viewed as the end of net neutrality in Europe. Now regulators are writing guidelines to determine how the law will be applied in practice. What most people don’t know: These guidelines could still secure net neutrality in Europe — if regulators use them to close potential loopholes in the law.

Until July 18, the public has an opportunity to comment on the draft guidelines in a public consultation. While the draft guidelines are promising, they need to be improved in four key areas, described in the letter, to provide meaningful net neutrality in Europe. The letter urges regulators to make these changes.

So far, the consultation has received little public attention. That’s a big problem. The carriers are lobbying furiously to water down the guidelines. Their latest move: Last Wednesday, the 17 largest telecom companies in Europe threatened not to invest in the next generation of 5G mobile networks unless regulators water down the guidelines. Their efforts are getting traction: EU commissioner Oettinger, the commissioner in charge of this proceeding, published the manifesto on the Commission’s website and lauded it on Twitter.

Unless people speak up now, regulators will not be able to withstand this pressure and we will lose net neutrality in Europe after all. In India and the United States, millions of people participated in the public consultations on net neutrality. Their voices were a key factor that motivated regulators to adopt strong net neutrality rules in these countries.

Key quotes from the letter:

“Network neutrality for hundreds of millions of Europeans is within our grasp. Securing this is essential to preserve the open Internet as a driver for economic growth and social progress. But the public needs to tell regulators now to strengthen safeguards, and not cave in to telecommunications carriers’ manipulative tactics.”

“We – the ordinary users of the Internet – don’t have expensive lobbyists. But we have millions of people – everyday Europeans, startups, investors, small businesses, activists, NGOs, bloggers, independent artists – who have experienced the power of the open Internet first hand and want to protect it.”

“The Internet has become the critical infrastructure of our time – for our daily life, for our economy, for our democracy. Strong guidelines will protect the future of competition, innovation, and creative expression in Europe, enhancing Europe’s ability to lead in the digital economy. They will ensure that every European, no matter the color of their skin or the size of their wallets, has an equal chance to innovate, compete, speak, organize, and connect online.”

“There are four areas that regulators need to get right to secure meaningful net neutrality in Europe:
1. Ban Fast Lanes: Regulators need to close a loophole that could allow carriers to offer special “fast lanes” to normal websites and applications for a fee.
2. Ban Zero-rating: Regulators need to ban harmful forms of zero-rating.
3. Ban Discrimination: Regulators need to prevent carriers from discriminating among classes of traffic to manage their networks.
4. Protect Internet Access: Regulators need to prohibit new “specialized” services from taking over bandwidth that people bought to access the Internet.”

“Telecom regulators can still protect net neutrality in Europe – if they make the key changes described above. We urge regulators to make these changes. And we urge you to contact those regulators before July 18th and let them know the public supports strong network neutrality guidelines.“

“We have four days to save the open Internet in Europe. Let’s use them.”

You can find the full text of the letter here:

About the authors of the letter

Sir Tim Berners-Lee is the inventor of the World Wide Web. He founded and directs the World Wide Web Consortium, the forum for technical development of the Web, and the World Wide Web Foundation, which works to ensure that the World Wide Web serves humanity. His twitter handle is @timberners_lee.

Larry Lessig, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, was the first to write about the concept of net neutrality even before the term was coined. His research, testimony, and advocacy on net neutrality laid the foundation for net neutrality debates around the world. His book “Code and other laws of cyberspace” revolutionized the field of Internet policy. His twitter handle is @lessig.

Barbara van Schewick, Professor of Law and (by courtesy) Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, is a leading expert on net neutrality. Her work on net neutrality has influenced regulatory proceedings on net neutrality in the US, India, South America, and Europe. The FCC’s Open Internet Orders in 2010 and 2015, which adopted net neutrality rules for the US, relied heavily on her work. Last year, Slate put her at the top of the list of “Women who won net neutrality” in the US. Her twitter handle is @vanschewick. She can be reached at

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Chelsea Manning Confirms Health Status Through Her Attorneys

Posted 17:47 EDT on July 11, 2016

For Immediate Release: June 11, 2016
Contact: Christina DiPasquale, 202.716.1953,

Today, Chelsea Manning’s attorneys Chase Strangio, Vincent Ward and Nancy Hollander released the following statement jointly:

“After not connecting with Chelsea for over a week, we were relieved to speak with her this morning. Though she would have preferred to keep her private medical information private, and instead focus on her recovery, the government’s gross breach of confidentiality in disclosing her personal health information to the media has created the very real concern that they may continue their unauthorized release of information about her publicly without warning. Due to these circumstances, Chelsea Manning requested that we communicate with the media and her friends and supporters on her behalf.

“Last week, Chelsea made a decision to end her life. Her attempt to take her own life was unsuccessful. She knows that people have questions about how she is doing and she wants everyone to know that she remains under close observation by the prison and expects to remain on this status for the next several weeks. For us, hearing Chelsea’s voice after learning that she had attempted to take her life last week was incredibly emotional. She is someone who has fought so hard for so many issues we care about and we are honored to fight for her freedom and medical care.”


Fight for the Future is a digital rights group that has been supporting Chelsea Manning while in prison. This press release was posted with the approval of her attorneys.

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The Senate votes this week on whether to give the FBI warrantless access to your browsing history.

Posted 09:16 EDT on July 11, 2016

Here are the key senators that could swing the vote either way.

A couple of weeks ago, the Senate tried to sneak a rider onto a spending bill that would give the FBI sweeping new surveillance authority, including warrantless access to browsing history (obtained from ISPs). This measure failed by one vote after thousands of people called their senators using a phone tool we set up at and 1-919-FREEDOM.

Now, Republican leadership is planning to re-introduce the measure (McCain Amendment 4787) and do a re-vote this week. Even though we won the first time, the razor-thin margin means this upcoming vote could really go either way. It all boils down to a few key senators who are undecided or likely to change their minds. Here’s what we know so far:

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UPDATE: Chelsea Manning’s Legal Team Responds to Unconfirmed Rumors About Her Hospitalization

Posted 12:39 EDT on July 8, 2016

For Immediate Release: July 8, 2016

Contact: Christina DiPasquale, 202.716.1953,

Today, Nancy Hollander, lead attorney on Chelsea Manning’s defense team, released the following update about recent reports that Chelsea Manning was hospitalized on July 5:

“The prison has notified us that Chelsea was hospitalized and remains under a doctor’s care. At this time, her doctors are recommending against a call and we are respecting those recommendations but are in close touch with the facility and will continue to monitor her condition and hope to connect with her soon. To protect her privacy, that is all we can say at the moment. Please continue to send Chelsea your good thoughts and messages of support.”


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Chelsea Manning’s Legal Team Responds to Unconfirmed Rumors About Her Hospitalization

Posted 14:06 EDT on July 6, 2016

For Immediate Release: July 6, 2016
Contact: Christina DiPasquale, 202.716.1953,

Today, an unnamed official at the Army revealed unverified information relating to Chelsea Manning’s confidential medical status to the media and Nancy Hollander, lead attorney on her defense team, released the following statement:

“We’re shocked and outraged that an official at Leavenworth contacted the press with private confidential medical information about Chelsea Manning yet no one at the Army has given a shred of information to her legal team.

“I had a privileged call scheduled with Chelsea at 2pm Leavenworth time yesterday, after the Army has now said she was hospitalized, but the Army gave the excuse—which I now believe to be an outright lie—that the call could not be connected although my team was waiting by the phone.

“Despite the fact that they have reached out to the media, and that any other prison will connect an emergency call, the Army has told her lawyers that the earliest time that they will accommodate a call between her lawyers and Chelsea is Friday morning. We call on the Army to immediately connect Chelsea Manning to her lawyers and friends who care deeply about her well-being and are profoundly distressed by the complete lack of official communication about Chelsea’s current situation.”


Fight for the Future is a digital rights group that has been supporting Chelsea Manning while in prison. This press release was posted with the approval of her attorneys. 

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