Fight for the Future


California passes historic bill to restore net neutrality

Posted 18:23 EDT on August 31, 2018
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 31, 2018
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

Internet activism defeats fierce lobbying from big telecom. SB 822 heads next to Governor Jerry Brown, has implications for the entire country

The California State Senate just voted to approve SB 822, the strongest and most comprehensive state-level net neutrality bill in the country. The bill heads next to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk. If he signs it, it’s likely to spread to other states, and will have serious implications in the fight to restore net neutrality nationwide. The current vote count is 23-11 as some members were absent. Final vote count soon, but it has the votes needed to pass.

Yesterday the bill passed the California Assembly in a landslide 61-18 vote with bipartisan support. The move is a major victory for Internet activists who harnessed massive public outcry to pass the bill and a resounding defeat for big telecom companies like AT&T and Comcast, who lobbied fiercely against the bill and spent large sums on campaign contributions to California legislators.

“Net neutrality is the free speech fight of our generation, and we’re winning,” said Evan Greer, Deputy Director of Fight for the Future. “If there’s one thing this victory in California shows it’s that Internet users are still royally pissed off about the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality. They’re still paying attention. And they’re not going to let their elected officials get away with selling out their constituents by siding with big telecom companies.”

“No one wants their cable company to control what websites and apps they can use, how they listen to music, or where they get their news,” she added, “Governor Jerry Brown should sign this bill ASAP. Other states should then follow California’s lead, and Congress should pass the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to restore common sense protections that never should have been repealed in the first place. Despite Ajit Pai’s best efforts to hand control over the open internet to giant telecoms, net neutrality is not dead. It’s coming back with a vengeance.”

SB 822 is widely regarded as the best state-level net neutrality bill in the country. Earlier this month it passed a crucial vote in front of the same committee where it was previously unceremoniously gutted at the behest of ISP lobbyists. The second time the bill passed with all the key protections restored, complete with the blessing of the committee chairman Miguel Santiago, who has become an ardent supporter of the bill after facing massive public outcry and the threat of crowdfunded billboards in his district.

The fight over SB 822 has implications for the entire nation, and comes amidst widespread public outcry following reports that Verizon throttled service to firefighters battling the worst wildfire in the state’s history. The now-repealed FCC Open Internet Order would have provided the possibility of redress for the fire department. SB 822 would allow the State Attorney General to investigate such incidents. More than 1,000 firefighters and other first responders have already signed on to an open letter calling for the restoration of the 2015 net neutrality protections.

Giant Internet service providers like AT&T and Comcast poured enormous amounts of money into lobbying efforts to stop SB 822 and managed to gut it once in committee. They’ve even been caught funding astroturf front groups, who  targeted seniors with misleading robocalls, and ran outrageous Twitter ads generating tweets targeting California assembly members that look like they’re from real constituents. One of these groups, CALinnovates, even lies about its membership, claiming Uber is a partner when the company denies it. On Thursday, an investigative report revealed that AT&T’s top lobbyist in Sacramento is not properly registered as a lobbyist, raising ethics questions.

Fight for the Future is a maintaining a click-to-call tool and public scoreboard of how California legislators voted at battleforthenet.com/california, and will continue advocacy to ensure that Governor Jerry Brown signs SB 822 into law.

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California Assembly passes historic net neutrality bill SB 822 with overwhelming bipartisan support

Posted 18:14 EDT on August 30, 2018
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Internet activism defeats fierce lobbying from big telecom. Bill now heads to a final vote in the California Senate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 29, 2018
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

The California State Assembly just passed SB 822, the strongest and most comprehensive state level net neutrality bill in the country. The overwhelming, bipartisan  61-18 vote is a major victory for Internet activists who harnessed massive public outcry to pass the bill and a resounding defeat for big telecom companies like AT&T and Comcast, who lobbied fiercely against the bill and spent large sums on campaign contributions to California legislators. SB 822 now heads for final approval in the California Senate, which passed a similar version in June, with a vote expected and needed before the end of this week.

“No one wants their cable or phone company to control what they see and do on the Internet,” said Evan Greer, Deputy Director of Fight for the Future. “California just took a huge step toward restoring protections that prevent companies like AT&T and Comcast from screwing us all over more than they already do. This historic Assembly vote is a testament to the power of the Internet. Big ISPs spent millions on campaign contributions, lobbyists, and dark ads on social networks, but in the end it was no match for the passion and dedication of net neutrality supporters using the Internet to sound the alarm and mobilize.”

She added, “The California Senate must immediately approve this measure and we hope and expect that Governor Brown will sign it. Other states should then follow California’s lead, and Congress should pass the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to restore common sense protections that never should have been repealed in the first place. Net neutrality is not dead. It’s coming back with a vengeance.”

SB 822 is widely regarded as the best state-level net neutrality bill in the country. Earlier this month it passed a crucial vote in front of the same committee where it was previously unceremoniously gutted at the behest of ISP lobbyists. The second time the bill passed with all the key protection restored, complete with the blessing of the committee chairman Miguel Santiago, who has become an ardent supporter of the bill after facing massive public outcry and the threat of crowdfunded billboards in his district.

The fight over SB 822 has implications for the entire nation, and comes amidst widespread public outcry following reports that Verizon throttled service to firefighters battling the worst wildfire in the state’s history. The now-repealed FCC net neutrality protections would have provided the possibility of redress for the fire department. SB 822 would allow the State Attorney General to investigate such incidents. More than 1,000 firefighters and other first responders have already signed on to an open letter calling for the restoration of the 2015 net neutrality protections.

Giant Internet service providers like AT&T and Comcast poured enormous amounts of money into lobbying efforts to stop SB 822 and managed to gut it once in committee. They’ve even been caught funding astroturf front groups, who are targeting seniors with misleading robocalls, and running outrageous Twitter ads generating tweets targeting California assembly members that look like they’re from real constituents. One of these groups, CALinnovates, even lies about its membership, claiming Uber is a partner when the company denies it. This morning it was revealed that AT&T’s top lobbyist in Sacramento is not properly registered as a lobbyist, raising ethics questions.

Fight for the Future is a maintaining a click-to-call tool and public scoreboard of how Assembly members voted at battleforthenet.com/california

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Firefighters and First Responders call on Congress to restore net neutrality following Verizon throttling

Posted 16:08 EDT on August 28, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 28, 2018
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

More than 1,000 firefighters, EMTs, and other emergency workers have signed an open letter that launched this week

Amid outcry over Verizon’s throttling of Internet service used by a fire department battling the worst wildfire in California history, more than 1,000 firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, 911 dispatchers, and other emergency workers have signed an open letter calling on Congress to pass the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to reverse the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality.

See the open letter here: FirstRespondersForNetNeutrality.com

“Access to reliable, high-quality broadband is essential for our work,” the letter, which was just launched this week, reads. “We routinely place ourselves in dangerous situations to assist others and save lives. But since the Federal Communications Commission repealed net neutrality rules and other key protections in December 2017, the communication services we rely on to do our jobs are no longer meaningfully protected from being arbitrarily slowed, blocked, or otherwise degraded by Internet service providers.”

It continues, “In response, we are joining with millions of businesses, veterans, and Internet users in asking Congress to use their Congressional Review Act (CRA) powers to restore the strong net neutrality rules and other consumer protections that were lost when the FCC voted to repeal its 2015 Open Internet Order.” 

Many first responders also included personalized comments with their open letter signature. Here are some of the comments below:

“Currently serving in armed forces and away from California. It is distressing seeing citizens and friends not receiving the best possible emergency services due to ISP throttling.”
–Louis G., EMT in Santa Barbara California

“My department uses Verizon for emergency services and cannot afford to be throttled.”
–Paul S., firefighter in Santa Ana, California

“Our call paging system relies on private ISPs to relay information from 911 dispatchers to ambulances — it is unconscionable for corporations to endanger public safety for the sake of profit.”
–Corey S., paramedic in San Diego

“EMTs rely on data to receive pages, vital paperwork necessary for patient care, and to help locate calls outside of our service area. Throttling speeds can delay care and cost lives.”
–Larry T., EMT in Little Rock Arkansas

The open letter was just launched this week with support from Fight for the Future, a digital rights organization fighting for net neutrality and an open Internet. Many more signers are expected to join in the coming weeks.

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Net neutrality vote is imminent in California legislature

Posted 15:43 EDT on August 27, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 27, 2018
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

The best state level let neutrality bill in the country, California’s SB 822, is heading for a vote in the state Assembly as early as this afternoon.

“The whole Internet is watching. The California legislature is about to decide whether to stand for free speech and democracy or trample on Internet users’ rights in order to appease corporate donors,” said Evan Greer, Deputy Director of Fight for the Future (pronouns: she/her). “SB 822 is the best damn net neutrality bill in the country. It’s the most authentic attempt to restore the essential protections that the FCC repealed. And with firefighters and emergency workers sounding the alarm about the very real dangers of allowing ISPs to operate without oversight, passing it should be a no brainer for any state legislator that wants to keep their job.”

The vote on SB 822 has implications for the entire country, and comes amidst widespread public outcry following reports that Verizon throttled service to firefighters battling the worst wildfire in the state’s history. The now repealed FCC net neutrality rules would have provided the possibility of redress for the fire department. SB 822 would allow the State Attorney General to investigate such incidents.

Giant Internet providers like AT&T and Comcast have poured enormous amounts of money into lobbying efforts to stop SB 822. They’ve even been caught funding astroturf front groups, who are targeting senior citizens with misleading robocalls, and running outrageous Twitter ads generating tweets at Assemblymembers that look like they’re from real constituents. One of these groups, CALinnovates, even lies about its membership, claiming Uber is a partner when the company denies it.

SB 822 is widely regarded as the best state-level net neutrality bill in the country. It just passed a crucial vote in front of the same committee where it was unceremoniously gutted last month at the behest of ISP lobbyists. This time the bill passed with the blessing of the committee chairman Miguel Santiago, who has become an ardent supporter of the bill after facing massive public outcry and the threat of crowdfunded billboards in his district.

If the bill passes the Assembly, it will head back to the Senate. The Senate already passed a previous version of the bill, but must vote again on new amendments after the bill was gutted and then restored following public backlash.

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Salesforce CEO signs letter against immigration policies, while maintaining multimillion dollar contract with Border Patrol

Posted 15:24 EDT on August 24, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 8/24/2018
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff just signed an open letter with other tech company executives condemning the Trump Administration’s immigration policies, saying that they hurt the U.S. economy. But the statement feels a bit empty, given that Salesforce is continuing to maintain a multimillion dollar contract with US Border Patrol, the government agency carrying out many of the abuses the CEO letter denounces.

Fight for the Future, a digital rights organization, has been running a campaign at DropSalesforce.com, calling on Salesforce to cut ties and stop supporting human rights violations. The group is crowdfunding ads and calling on speakers to pull out of Salesforce’s flagship yearly conference, Dreamforce.

“Signing this letter is the ultimate hypocrisy,” said Jelani Drew, campaigner with Fight for the Future, “Marc Benioff can condemn immigration policies and attempt to donate to immigration nonprofits all he wants, but until he drops his company’s contract with Border Patrol, he is actively providing technology to enable the same abusive policies he is condemning. It’s time for Benioff to put his money where his mouth is and cancel the contract. Until then, his signature on this letter is a slap in the face to those affected by these inhumane policies.”

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