WASHINGTON, DC––Senator Ron Wyden may have a difficult time convincing donors that he is in touch with his tech-savvy base at a DC fundraising dinner tonight, where activists are planning to protest outside the restaurant with a giant glowing message for the Senator and his funders: “Save the Net. No TPP.” Senator Wyden is currently engaged in negotiations with key Republicans over so-called “Fast Track” legislation, or Trade Promotion Authority, leading activists to question his commitment to protecting the free and open Internet.
WHAT: Protest outside Senator Ron Wyden’s fundraising dinner. Protesters will be outside the restaurant, but clearly visible to the Senator and his donors. Visuals include large light up signs, protesters chanting and picketing.
WHERE: Outside Bistro Bis, 16 E St NW, Washington, DC
WHEN: Today, Tuesday, March 24. Activists will gather at 5:00pm
WHY: Activists are calling for Senator Wyden to oppose Fast Track legislation, which could ram through the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, a secretive trade pact that contains extreme copyright provisions that could lead to global Internet censorship
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 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 protestthat the group posted on Facebook has already received more than 76,000 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.
AUSTIN — On Saturday, Net Neutrality advocates Demand Progress, Fight for the Future and the Free Press Action Fund will fly an airplane towing a 1,500-square-foot banner over Austin, Texas. The banner will celebrate the recent FCC vote to protect Net Neutrality while calling out Sen. Ted Cruz for his opposition to the open Internet.
The banner reads “Don’t Be an Enemy of the Internet Sen. Ted Cruz.” It flew over the state capital on March 13 and will fly over Austin again on March 14 from 4:30–7:30 p.m.
Sen. Cruz opposes online protections for Internet users, calling Net Neutrality rules “Obamacare for the Internet.” During his relatively short tenure in the Senate, Cruz has received more than $60,000 in campaign donations from the same phone and cable companies trying to kill Net Neutrality.
The banner expresses the tremendous grassroots support for Net Neutrality, and serves as a warning to politicians like Cruz who side with phone and cable companies. It will circle Austin as the city plays host to the annual South by Southwest Music, Film and Interactive Festival.
In 2014, Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, and the Free Press Action Fund launched BattlefortheNet.com, which became the most popular hub for Net Neutrality activism. The three groups also collaborated on the Sept. 10 Internet Slowdown protest, which involved more than 40,000 websites — including heavyweights like Netflix, Kickstarter and Tumblr — and drove more than 770,000 comments to the FCC in a single day.
“Senator Cruz needs to decide: Is he on the side of monopoly-minded cable companies or will he stand with the millions of U.S. Internet users fighting for free speech online?” said Free Press Action Fund Internet Campaign Director Candace Clement. “The people of Texas know the answer. It’s time for politicians like Cruz to cut their ties to Big Cable and support real Net Neutrality.”
“The public has overwhelmingly spoken out in favor of Net Neutrality, and the FCC delivered,” said Demand Progress Executive Director David Segal. “Yet some politicians like Senator Cruz continue to side with the Big Cable lobby by working against the public interest and trying to unravel the FCC’s new rules. Our banner is an Internet-backed reminder to Cruz and all politicians that if you stand against Net Neutrality, you are standing against the Internet. We had to crowdfund this airplane flight, but if we could figure out how to harness all the hot air Ted Cruz has been blowing on Net Neutrality, we could get a blimp off the ground for free.”
“Texans love their liberty, yet Senator Ted Cruz has been standing on the side of behemoth cable companies that have colluded with big government for years to maintain their monopoly status at the expense of consumer freedom, choice and access to information,” said Fight for the Future Campaign Director Evan Greer. “The Internet is rising and showing its power. Any politicians standing in its way should know by now that they are standing on the wrong side of history, and will pay the political cost for selling out their constituents.”
Internet freedom activists are flying a 30-foot blimp outside all of Senator Ron Wyden’s “Town Hall” meetings Friday and Saturday calling for him to “Save the Internet” by opposing Fast Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership
These photos are available for use by press. Please credit to photographer Tripp Jennings.
OREGON––Activists working keep the Internet free from censorship are trekking across Oregon Friday and Saturday following Senator Ron Wyden to all of his “Town Hall” meetings flying a giant 30 foot blimp dangling a banner that reads: “Ron Wyden: It’s up to you. Don’t betray us! Save the Internet. No Fast Track for the TPP.” The banner also features popular Internet “memes” like Grumpy Cat, and a reference to the massive online protests against SOPA, a bill that Senator Wyden opposed.
The blimp action is being organized by Fight for the Future, a digital rights nonprofit best known for their vibrant online campaigns that have mobilized millions of people to take action for net neutrality, online privacy, and free speech.
The 30-foot blimp will be flying outside all of Senator Wyden’s Town Hall meetings in the following locations. There will be excellent opportunities for photos and visuals on site, and Fight for the Future will have high resolution photos and videos available for use by the media after the event.
Friday, March 13th
UMATILLA, OR: 10:30am Clara Brownell Middle School (1300 7th St) LA GRANDE, OR: 5:00pm Union County Senior Center (1504 N Albany St)
Saturday, March 14th
BAKER CITY, OR: 10:00am Baker County Senior Center (2810 Cedar St) ONTARIO, OR: 3:30pm Four Rivers Cultural Center (676 SW 5th Ave)
Fight for the Future campaign director Evan Greer said, “Senator Wyden has been a strong supporter of Internet freedom issues during his entire career. We are shocked that he is considering supporting anti-democratic Fast Track legislation that would allow the future of the Internet to be decided behind closed doors. We are flying this blimp across Oregon because Senator Wyden needs to know that the Internet is depending on him, and where he stands on this issue will decide whether he is remembered as a hero or a traitor.”
To request an interview with one of the organizers or to request photos and video of the protest, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 978-852-6457.
Fight for the Future statement on release of FCC’s historic net neutrality rules: “The public made this happen.”
WASHINGTON, DC––Today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the full text of their historic decision to protect the openness of the Internet through strong net neutrality rules that prevent Internet service providers from blocking, throttling, or discriminating against Internet content.
Fight for the Future, a digital rights group that has been at the forefront of securing net neutrality, released the following statement, which can be attributed to campaign director Evan Greer.
The rules released today are 313 pages of fiery justice reining in some of the most abusive and powerful institutions in our country. Every single word of these rules is a direct result of the millions of people who spoke out and took action on this issue, from the brave activists who slept out in sleeping bags in front of the FCC to to the millions of ordinary people who took the time to submit a comment, call their member of Congress, or take action online using the many tools that the open Internet provided. This unprecedented victory could not have been won without the game-changing democratic openness of the Internet, and that’s exactly what this fight, and these rules, are intended to protect. Together, we have preserved the Internet as a platform for freedom of expression for generations to come, and a a revolutionary tool that can be used by all those who seek to change the world.
Fight for the Future, a group that was founded in the lead up to the fight against SOPA, have been one of the most active groups in the net neutrality fight and along with a broad coalition were lead organizers of Occupy the FCC, the Internet Slowdown protest, CallTheFCC.com, nationwide emergency protests, and the victory stunt last month where they worked with others to fly an airplane over Comcast headquarters towing a banner that read “Don’t mess with the Internet.” The group has been widely quoted in major press including the New York Times. For more on Fight for the Future’s role, see this recent Bloomberg TV interview with campaign director Evan Greer.