Fight for the Future


PHOTOS & VIDEO: House Republicans receive packages “from” President Obama asking them to rubber stamp his secret trade agenda

Posted 02:34 EDT on June 9, 2015

Here’s a video to get you started:

246 packages just like this one…

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Are being dropped off at the offices of every Republican in the House of Representatives

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Each package contains a satirical letter “from” President Obama

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And an actual rubber stamp, reading “I approve President Obama’s secret trade deal.”

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Oh, and a “Facts to Ignore” sheet

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Congressional staffers were happy to receive a delivery “from” the White House

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And it was even personally addressed to each Representative!

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Some offices were less excited to hear “from the President” than others.

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We’ll find out this Thursday which representatives plan to stand up for democracy, and which ones plan to use their rubber stamp to speed secret trade deals that hurt the Internet into law. 

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There are just days left before the final vote. Click here to contact your representatives!

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Senate Passes USA Freedom Act, Gives Government Back its Legal Tools for Mass Domestic Surveillance

Posted 18:25 EDT on June 2, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2, 2015

Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457
Email: press@fightforthefuture.org

Major sections of the Patriot Act expired on June 1, 2015, in line with the public sentiment. Yet Congress moves to revive the mass surveillance powers.

On Tuesday, June 2, 2015, 67 US Senators voted to give the government back its legislative justification for executing mass surveillance on the phone calls of all Americans.

Each member of the Senate who voted for the USA Freedom Act will now be on record for re-instating—with full knowledge of its illegal usage—a piece of the largest scale violation of the US Constitution in America’s history. They will carry that failure into the next elections, and through the rest of their political careers.

“The public wants a complete end to mass suspicionless surveillance, not more government deception and doublespeak,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, “Sunsetting the Patriot Act was a step toward the major structural changes we need to restore privacy, and now Congress is taking a giant leap in the wrong direction with the USA Freedom Act, which revives one of the most badly abused pieces of legislation in U.S. history. It’s enough to make even the most trusting citizens question the intentions of their government.”

“We have made it clear to the world these programs are useless and need to end. What we did was change the conversation from should we end mass surveillance to how? The answers Congress is coming up with so far, like the faux reform USA Freedom Act, are wrong and dangerous. But at least the public has forced them to start asking the right questions’” added Tiffiniy Cheng, co-founder of Fight for the Future.

“The sunset of the Patriot Act provisions marks a historic moment that–for the past 13 years until just weeks ago–was unthinkable. It happened because of massive public pressure to see these programs end, and because a few senators, including Senator Paul, had the courage to actually listen to the public, and to take a stand for their own principles and the principles embodied in the Constitution. By passing USA Freedom Congress just threw that victory away. But for a brief moment, if the administration was in fact following the law, Americans were able to call their loved ones without the government tracking them.That alone is worth celebrating, but now Congress is moving to take that freedom away once again,” added Holmes Wilson, co-founder of Fight for the Future.

In the weeks leading up to the expiration deadline for Section 215 of the PATRIOT ACT, polls were released which showed the public’s opposition to the government’s surveillance of U.S. citizens. In addition, a report from the Department of Justice identified these programs as ineffective for counter-terrorism. The public also organized against these programs, sending hundreds of thousands of emails and calls to Congress, organizing 40+ vigils at senators’ district offices, blacking out Congress’ access to tens of thousands of websites, and coordinating letter drop-offs at lawmakers’ district offices.

Fight for the Future and dozens of other groups have vowed to continue the fight to end mass government surveillance, working toward a full repeal of the Patriot Act, FISA Amendments Act, and other structural changes needed to restore our basic human right to communicate privately and express ourselves freely. Fight for the Future will continue its work to spread easy-to-use, strong encryption tools through campaigns like Reset the Net, to protect people everywhere from rogue government programs, like those reauthorized today.

“Thanks to Edward Snowden and the free and open Internet, the global public is more aware than ever before of the U.S. government’s abusive spying operations. The members of Congress who just voted to reauthorize and expand these programs will soon learn that the Internet-using public is not easily fooled, and we will not forget the names of the politicians who raised their hands and voted to take away our freedoms mere moments after we had restored them,” concluded Greer.

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CREDO, Demand Progress and Fight for the Future praise temporary  PATRIOT Act sunset, criticize vote to advance USA Freedom Act

Posted 21:23 EDT on May 31, 2015

The fake-reform bill is an attack on civil liberties and codifies some of the worst mass surveillance abuses of the PATRIOT Act

The expiration of key PATRIOT Act provisions – even if only temporary – is a victory for the countless civil liberties activists in every congressional district in the country who, since Edward Snowden blew the whistle on government surveillance, have fought for real reform. It demonstrates that the public can win battles in Congress that just a few years ago we were barely able to fight at all.

However, the Senate failed the American people today. Despite overwhelming evidence that Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act violates our civil liberties without making us safer, the Senate overwhelmingly bowed to pressure from surveillance agencies and voted to advance a bill that would renew their illegal and ineffective mass surveillance authorities under the PATRIOT Act.

The USA FREEDOM Act is a mass surveillance bill dressed up as a reform bill, and its passage will authorize unconstitutional surveillance practices.

Given the cloture vote, it seems very likely that the USA FREEDOM Act will pass. But if that happens, each member of the U.S. Senate will be on record for re-instating, with full knowledge of illegal implementation, the largest scale violation of the U.S. Constitution in America’s history – one that is overwhelmingly unpopular with voters, and they will carry that failure through the rest of their political careers.

The expiration of the some of the worst abuses of the PATRIOT Act completely changes the political dynamics in the fight to end mass surveillance. The overwhelming majority of the sitting members of Congress never voted on the PATRIOT Act, and if they vote to reinstate Section 215 they will have gone on the record and must take direct responsibility for authorizing clearly unconstitutional and profoundly unpopular spying.

We will continue fighting to repeal the PATRIOT Act and the FISA Amendments Act, rein in the surveillance state, and place real checks on government surveillance.

“As a telecom that can be compelled to participate in unconstitutional spying on Americans accused of no crimes, it’s of the greatest urgency that we end the worst abuses of the PATRIOT Act,” said Becky Bond, Vice President of CREDO Mobile. “Our surveillance agencies have gone rogue, and sunsetting the PATRIOT Act – even if just for a few days – is the first real step we’ve taken toward restoring civil liberties taken away in the wake of the September 11th attacks. Elected officials who voted to restore this dangerous mass surveillance authority via the USA FREEDOM Act cannot going forward claim to carry the mantle of civil liberties reform.”

“The overwhelming majority of Americans who don’t want to be indiscriminately spied on by their very own government have brought their will to bear in this fight – and have upended the inside-the-Beltway conventional wisdom that said a sunset was impossible,” said David Segal, Executive Director of Demand Progress. “The fiercely contested battle over the PATRIOT Act and its temporary sunset demonstrate the growing power of the mass movement to reform America’s out-of-control surveillance agencies. With the expiration of Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, each senator must now go on record and publicly decide whether to protect our civil liberties or codify unconstitutional government spying all over again through the USA FREEDOM Act.”

“Sunsetting the Patriot Act is the biggest win for ending mass surveillance programs, and one that conventional DC wisdom said was impossible. We are seeing history in the making and it was because the public stood up for our rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association – and there’s no turning back now,” said Tiffiniy Cheng, co-founder of Fight for the Future.

“It was like Congress had some sick fetish for George Orwell jokes, or couldn’t wait for the next Hunger Games to come out,” said Fight for the Future co-founder, Holmes Wilson, “They were about to reauthorize spying on the emails and calls of every American with a bill called ‘USA Freedom!’"

Press call Monday morning:

The organizations behind this release, and others, will take part in a press call to discuss the sunset and the USA FREEDOM Act tomorrow morning.

WHAT: An hour-long press call to discuss the Senate vote on the USA Patriot Act and the USA FREEDOM Act

WHEN: 9:00am EST Monday, June 1, 2015

WHERE: RSVP Ashley Houghton at Ashley@rethinkmedia.org for call in details.

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Thousands of websites call for Sunset of the PATRIOT Act by blacking out access to Congress’ IP addresses, redirecting to naked photos submitted by NSA protesters

Posted 12:03 EDT on May 29, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 29, 2015

Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457
Email: press@fightforthefuture.org

Thousands of websites call for Sunset of the PATRIOT Act by blacking out access to Congress’ IP addresses, redirecting to naked photos submitted by NSA protesters

14,000 sites have joined the campaign since it was launched last night

THE INTERNET—More than 14,000 websites are blocking access from Congressional IP addresses and redirecting those visitors to a site with naked photos submitted by activists protesting the PATRIOT Act, a law that the NSA and FBI have abused to conduct mass surveillance millions of people suspected of no wrongdoing.

The protest was launched last night and quickly gained popularity in a thread on reddit’s r/techonology that has garnered more than 5,800 upvotes. The protest comes just days before Congress is expected to vote on the future of the Patriot Act. Privacy advocates from across the political spectrum have called for Congress to allow Section 215 of the bill to expire, and are asking lawmakers to oppose any reauthorization of surveillance authorities including through the USA Freedom Act, a “fake reform” bill that fails to end bulk collection.

Digital rights group Fight for the Future organized the protest through its project the Internet Defense League, a network of websites that have been working together to protect Internet freedom since the massive online protests against the SOPA/PIPA censorship bills.

“Congress voted to authorize the government’s illegal mass surveillance programs. This is their mess to clean up,” said Fight for the Future co-founder, Tiffiniy Cheng, “People are fed up. No one wants to live in a world without privacy where they aren’t free to express themselves. People will continue to stand up and fight for free speech, and Congress should expect nothing but resistance until they end these abusive programs that threaten our most basic rights.”

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Internet Activists Celebrate Historic Departure from PATRIOT Act Status Quo

Posted 03:42 EDT on May 23, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 23, 2015

Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457
Email: press@fightforthefuture.org

Internet Activists Celebrate Historic Departure from Patriot Act Status Quo

After 40+ “Sunset” vigils across the country, millions of emails, hundreds of thousands of phone calls to Congress, and tens of thousands of websites protesting, Congress rejected two attempts to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act early Saturday morning

WASHINGTON––The United States Senate has rejected two surveillance bills that would have reauthorized expiring sections of the Patriot Act – either carte blanche for two months or in an updated form until 2019. Congress has been faced with how to address the bulk collection of data after these programs were revealed by Edward Snowden, and since studies of these programs have shown they have had a negligible effect on thwarting terrorism cases.

Fight for the Future, the prominent digital rights group best known for their role in the massive SOPA and net neutrality protests, and the Reset the Net campaign, which was endorsed by Edward Snowden, celebrated the victory. The group helped organize dozens of “Sunset Vigils” across the U.S. on Thursday (see photos here).

Fight for the Future and many other privacy groups had criticized the USA Freedom Act, a bill that would have reauthorized some of the worst sections of the PATRIOT Act without meaningfully curtailing government spying. The group’s representatives issued the following statements about today’s historic victory:

“Sunsetting the Patriot Act is the biggest win for ending mass surveillance programs, and one that conventional DC wisdom said was impossible. We are seeing history in the making and it was because the public stood up for our rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association – and there’s no turning back now,” said Tiffiniy Cheng, co-founder of Fight for the Future.

According to a White House memo to Congress, the Senate’s failure to renew provisions of the PATRIOT Act means that the NSA must begin shutting down its domestic mass surveillance programs this week, possibly only temporarily.

“These bills were an attempt to disregard the abuses revealed by Snowden and cement mass surveillance into law in defiance of the Constitution, the courts, and public sentiment,” said Jeff Lyon, CTO of Fight for the Future. “The failure of these bills to pass shows just how dramatically the politics of surveillance changed once the extent of the government’s surveillance programs became known to the public.”

“It was like Congress had some sick fetish for George Orwell jokes, or couldn’t wait for the next Hunger Games to come out,” said Fight for the Future co-founder, Holmes Wilson, “They were about to reauthorize spying on the emails and calls of every American with a bill called ‘USA Freedom!’"

“Congress got a pass before, because we didn’t know for sure that the US government was illegally interpreting our laws to conduct mass surveillance programs. But, now that these programs have seen the light of day, they’re responsible for enacting mass surveillance into law or discontinuing it,” added Cheng. “Some members of Congress are now on record for voting against the Constitution, 240 years of legislative intent, and the public will of the last hundred years, and for mass surveillance programs.”  

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