If you feel like every week there’s is always another looming threat to the future of free speech on the Internet, it’s because there is.
The root of the problem is that too many decisions that impact Internet freedom are made by government bureaucrats and corporate lobbyists behind closed doors and without public input.
Right now, U.S. Congress is planning to pass a “Fast Track” bill that will make this situation even worse by ramming through secret agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership that could lead to more censorship and less privacy online. We think Internet users should have a voice anytime there’s a major decision that impacts our rights.
The TPP has pieces of every bad Internet policy we’ve ever fought against, and if it passes now we’ll be kicking ourselves for decades, fighting uphill battle after uphill battle on copyright reform, whistleblower protections, and so much more. Let’s not let that happen.
Yours for Team Internet, -Evan at FFTF
P.S. Senator Ron Wyden continues to be a key figure in backroom negotiations about “Fast Track.” Please take three seconds to tweet at him today or call his office: (202) 224-5244.
UPDATE: After we posted the statement below on reddit, the FCC corrected Ajit Pai’s statement to remove the false claim that Fight for the Future is a “government funded” group.
During FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai’s dissent against the new net neutrality rules, he presented false and misleading information about the support for net neutrality. He characterized one of the leading net neutrality advocacy groups as a government-funded group – even though we’ve never received a dollar from the government.
Full disclosure: I’m Jessica Bruno, and I keep the books for Fight for the Future. We’re a pro-net neutrality group responsible for driving 777,364 pro-net neutrality comments to the FCC through the Battle for the Net campaign.
In his official, written testimony opposing net neutrality, Commissioner Pai called Fight for the Future a “government-funded group,” citing our 990 tax form as proof. But that form doesn’t mean we take government money. If you look at page 9, right next to where it says, “Government grants (contributions),” there’s a blank space indicating that we received $0 from the government.
The reason we filed a 990 is to be transparent about where we get our funding from. Most of it comes from small grants or donations from our 1.2 million members who overwhelmingly support net neutrality and donated to us to help make sure we could fight to protect it.
Internet activists call out Ron Wyden over Fast Track for the TPP during guerilla film festival on Capitol Hill Digital rights group Fight for the Future parked a jumbotron on Capitol Hill today
WASHINGTON, DC––Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has been in the spotlight in recent weeks over his tentative support for Fast Track / Trade Promotion Authority and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but today Internet activists put him on the big screen when they parked a “Jumbotron” truck with a giant video display near Capitol Hill for a guerrilla “film festival” of videos calling for the Senator to stand by his values of government transparency and Internet freedom and reject anti-democratic Fast Track legislation.
Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, said, “Senator Wyden has built his career on a platform of government transparency and support for Internet freedom. If he turns his back on those values by supporting outdated and anti-democratic Fast Track legislation, his legacy will be forever tarnished. The film festival today was just one more reminder that the public is outraged that he’s even considering this deal, and if he cares about what his constituents have to say at all he will do the right thing.”
A few dozen people gathered on the National Mall to watch the film festival, snacking on free popcorn and enjoying several short videos including many sent directly from supporters and constituents who addressed Senator Wyden directly and asked him to do the right thing. The film fest kicked off with a viral video of activists who followed the Senator around his home state of Oregon with a 30-foot blimp, which has already seen more than 160,000 views online.
Today’s event is the latest in an escalating series of online and offline protests focused on Senator Wyden. Last week, the Senator moved a fundraising dinner in Washington, DC at the last minute after Internet activist groups planned a protest outside. Last year, 25 tech companies including reddit, Namecheap, and Imgur sent a letter to Senator Wyden detailing their concerns with Fast Track. Online, activists have been pummeling the Senator with more than 35,000 tweets in recent weeks, and thousands of phone calls and emails.
The “Hey Ron Wyden! Film Festival” was organized by Fight for the Future, a digital rights group best known for their role in the massive protests against SOPA and in the recent fight for net neutrality.
MEDIA ADVISORY: Internet activists to park JUMBOTRON near Capitol Hill for “Hey Ron Wyden! Fast Track Film Fest”
Digital rights group Fight for the Future’s video of activists following Senator Ron Wyden around Oregon with a 30-foot blimp has received more than 160,000 views on Facebook. On Monday the group is planning a public screening in Washington, DC on a giant “video billboard” parked on 3rd St near the National Mall
WHAT: Internet activists will park a “Jumbotron” truck with a giant video screen near Capitol Hill on Monday, playing a series of videos focusing on Senator Ron Wyden’s role in supporting “Fast Track” legislation and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. A crowd will gather for a “Hey Ron Wyden! Film Fest” complete with free popcorn, banners, and signs.
WHEN: Monday, March 30th, 2015. 12:30pm - 1:30pm EST. The Jumbotron will remain parked in that location until 5:00pm EST.
WHERE: National Mall, 3rd Street between Independence and Constitution Aves, Washington, DC
WHO: The event is organized by Fight for the Future, a digital rights group best known for organizing massive online protests against SOPA, opposing mass surveillance, and supporting net neutrality.
Senator Wyden has traditionally been a champion of Internet freedom issues, including net neutrality, but Internet advocates aredeeply concerned about the Senator’s support for Fast Track / Trade Promotion Authority legislation that could push trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) through Congress without meaningful debate or public input. The TPP contains extreme copyright provisions, pushed for by the same special interests that pushed resoundingly rejected SOPA legislation, thatcould lead toglobal Internet censorship, less privacy, and harsher penalties for whistleblowers.
Earlier this month, Fight for the Future followed Senator Wyden around his home state of Oregon with a 30-foot blimp reading: “Ron Wyden: It’s up to you! Don’t betray us. Save the Internet.”A video of the protest that the group posted has already received more than 160,000 views across Facebook and YouTube. The group has also run an online campaign resulting in more than 35,000 tweets at the Senator in recent weeks calling upon him to stick to his values of transparency and oppose Fast Track.
Fight for the Future previously worked with the domain hosting company Namecheap to park a similar JUMBOTRON truckacross from the FCC as part of their campaign in support of net neutrality. Ironically, Senator Wyden sent the group a video to play on that billboard, as pictured in the photo linked here.
Photos is this post are available for use by press. Please credit as “Courtesy PopularResistance.org”
UPDATE 3/25/15: Senator Wyden’s staff have been telling the press that the fundraising dinner was not “cancelled.” The location of the dinner had been previously publicized in CQ Quarterly and elsewhere. It is clear that the Senator moved his event at the last minute. We would like to know what he told his donors about the last minute venue change.
Senator Ron Wyden moves DC fundraising dinner last minute after Internet activists announce they will protest Fast Track / TPP outside
A crowd of two dozen people gathered outside the restaurant, but Senator Wyden didn’t show. Hotel workers confirmed the Senator cancelled his event yesterday afternoon, after after protest was announced.
WASHINGTON, DC––A crowd of 25 protesters gathered outside an upscale hotel restaurant in Washington, DC where Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) had planned to host a fundraising dinner this evening, but the Senator did not show up. Hotel workers told the activists that Senator Wyden had cancelled his event on Monday afternoon, shortly after Fight for the Future and Popular Resistance began publicizing plans to demonstrate outside, calling attention to Senator Wyden’s hypocritical support for Fast Track / Trade Promotion Authority legislation. It appears that the Senator moved his event at the last minute after learning about the planned protest.
Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, said, “Senator Wyden can run, but he can’t hide from the Internet public on this issue,” she added, “He knows that supporting Fast Track authority for secretive trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership is wrong. He knows it goes against his own values and against the wishes of his voters. He has a choice to make: will he oppose Fast Track and continue to be a hero for Internet freedom? Or will he betray the Internet and support an undemocratic and outdated process that puts the future of the Internet into the hands of the same lobbyists and bureaucrats that brought us SOPA and ACTA?”
BACKGROUND: Senator Wyden has traditionally been a champion of Internet freedom issues, including net neutrality, but Internet advocates are deeply concerned about the Senator’s support for Fast Track / Trade Promotion Authority legislation that could push trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) through Congress without meaningful debate or public input. The TPP contains extreme copyright provisions, pushed for by the same special interests that pushed resoundingly rejected SOPA legislation, that could lead to global Internet censorship, less privacy, and harsher penalties for whistleblowers.
Earlier this month, Fight for the Future followed Senator Wyden around his home state of Oregon with a 30-foot blimp reading: “Ron Wyden: It’s up to you! Don’t betray us. Save the Internet.” A video of the protest that the group posted on Facebook has already received more than 100,000 views. The group has also run an online campaign resulting in more than 35,000 tweets at the Senator in recent weeks calling upon him to stick to his values of transparency and oppose Fast Track.