At sunset on Thursday, people are meeting all over the US to demand and end to the PATRIOT Act, key provisions of which expire (or “sunset”) this week.Read More...
BREAKING: nationwide sunset vigils TONIGHT calling for Congress to sunset the PATRIOT act
Activists will gather at sunset in in 50 cities to demand that Congress let Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act expire
On Thursday, activists in 50 cities will gather at sunset (starting at 7:00pm) to oppose the reauthorization of section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, which has been exploited by the government to justify mass surveillance. The “Sunset Vigils” will call for Congress to allow Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act to expire, and oppose attempts to reauthorize it. Organizers say sunsetting the PATRIOT Act is the most meaningful reform, and the only one that makes sense.
The sunset vigils are being organized by CREDO, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Free Press Action Fund, MoveOn.org Civic Action, Popular Resistance, and Restore the Fourth.
These rapid-response gatherings will be held at sunset outside of Senators’ offices. In Washington, DC, privacy advocates will gather at the West Lawn of the Capitol building.
For more information, please contact:
Josh Nelson, CREDO, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-550-6175
Evan Greer, Fight for the Future, email@example.com, 978-852-6457
Mark Stanley, Demand Progress, firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Stewart, MoveOn.org Civic Action, email@example.com, 319-936-3901
Alex Marthews, Restore The Fourth, firstname.lastname@example.org, 781-258-2936
RELEASE: Hundreds of Tech Companies to Congress: TPP and Fast Track Harms Digital Innovation and Users’ RightsPosted 09:43 EDT on May 20, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2015
Campaign Director, Fight For the Future
Phone: 978-852-6457, Email: email@example.com
Global Policy Analyst, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Phone: (415) 436 - 9333 x175, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In a joint letter to Congress released today, more than 250 technology companies and user rights organizations say that the extreme level of secrecy surrounding trade negotiations have led to provisions in agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that threaten digital innovation, free speech, and access to knowledge online, and the letter calls on Congress to come out against the Fast Track (AKA Trade Promotion Authority [TPA]) bill for legitimizing this secretive process. Its signatories include AVG Technologies, DreamHost, Namecheap, Mediafire, Imgur, Internet Archive, BoingBoing, Piwik, Private Internet Access, and many others.
The letter specifically identifies the TPP’s threats based on leaked texts of the agreement—how it threatens fair use, could lead to more costly forms of online copyright enforcement, criminalize whistleblowing and investigative journalism, and create investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) courts that would further jeopardize user protections in domestic laws. The Fast Track bill, the companies write, would legitimize the exclusive process that has led to these and other provisions, as well as undermine lawmakers’ efforts towards striking the right balance between the interests of copyright holders and those of innovators and users.
“We simply cannot allow our policymakers to use secret trade negotiations to make digital policy for the 21st century,” said Maira Sutton, global policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Leaks of the TPP agreement have revealed time and time again that this opaque process has led to provisions that undermine our rights to free speech, privacy, and innovation online. The TPP is a huge threat to the Internet and its users. Full stop.”
“The future of the Internet is simply too important to be decided behind closed doors,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future. “The Fast Track / Trade Promotion Authority process actively silences the voices of Internet users, startups, and small tech companies while giving the biggest players even more power to set policy that benefits a few select companies while undermining the health of the entire Web.”
Harvey Anderson, Chief Legal Officer of the popular anti-virus software company AVG Technologies: “The current administration has done much to promote openness and transparency as governance principles and in managing Internet policy, they can, and we expect, that they can do much better than the current Fast Track bill.”
Carl Wilcox, CEO of nanotech firm Advanced Surfaces and Processes, Inc.: “Technology companies like us, especially startups and emerging companies, need a level business playing field, not one where mega corporations make the rules and can sue them in a mega-corporation court whose judges and attorneys are all employed by mega-corporations. TPP impacts us negatively when they dictate intellectual property, food safety, the price of prescription drugs, weak environmental, buy local and labor safety rules.”
David Heinemeier Hansson, partner at Basecamp and creator of the popular Ruby on Rails web development framework: “TPP makes a mockery of democratic legislative ideals. It’s shrouded in secrecy exactly because it would wither in sunlight. It’s a terrible piece of overreach to endow a few special interests with enormous and unsavory power. The whole thing needs to be scrapped and started over. International trade is too important to have it hitched to this collection of wishful thinking by a select few.
Cory Doctorow, author, journalist, and co-editor of Boing Boing: “Democracies make their laws in public, not in smoke-filled rooms. If TPP’s backers truly believed that they were doing the people’s work, they’d have invited the people into the room. The fact that they went to extreme, unprecedented measures to stop anyone from finding out what was going on—even going so far as to threaten Congress with jail if they spoke about it —tells you that this is something being done *to* Americans, not *for* Americans.”
Founder of the Copia Institute, Mike Masnick: “In the last two decades the Internet has been one of the main drivers of economic growth, progress and prosperity worldwide. And, yet, leaked portions of the TPP agreement and the current fast track bill shows that no one is even considering the impact on the digital economy and digital rights. The TPP and TPA are not designed for an Internet era, or even taking the Internet economy into account. That the whole thing has been written in secret only makes this more concerning over the impact it will have on the most dynamic and important sectors of the economy today.”
For the full letter, visit: http://tumblr.fightforthefuture.org/post/119439719948/hundreds-of-tech-companies-to-congress-tpp-and
Hundreds of Tech Companies to Congress: TPP and Fast Track Harms Digital Innovation and Users’ RightsPosted 09:07 EDT on May 20, 2015
The following letter was sent to Congress on May 20th by more than 250 technology companies and users’ rights organizations. See the press release here. You can see the letter as a PDF here.
Dear Members of Congress,
We write to you as a community representing thousands of our nation’s innovators, entrepreneurs, job-creators, and users to express our concern over trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Despite containing many provisions that go far beyond the scope of traditional trade policy, the public is kept in the dark as these deals continue to be negotiated behind closed doors with heavy influence from only a limited subset of stakeholders.
The recently-introduced Fast Track bill (the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, “the Bill”) would not remedy the utter lack of transparency of the negotiation process, nor does it include any language to ensure that these deals would contain safeguards to protect our interests in freedom of expression and innovation online. These are just some of our specific concerns we have:
* Threats to Fair Use: The TPP contains language that could prevent countries from expanding exceptions and limitations to copyright. The Fast Track Bill also contains nothing to promote balance in copyright law. This is despite how much value fair use has added to the U.S. economy and could add for investors in the growing economies of our trading partners.
* Expensive and Harmful Costs of Online Enforcement: U.S. law incentivizes online content providers to take down content over a mere allegation of infringement. The TPP will likely emulate these rules, continuing to make it expensive and onerous for startups and small companies to oversee users’ activities and process each takedown notice.
* Criminalizing Journalism and Whistleblowing: TPP’s trade secrets provisions could make it a crime for people to reveal corporate wrongdoing “through a computer system.” The language is dangerously vague, and enables signatory countries to enact rules that would ban reporting on timely, critical issues affecting the public.
* Investor-State Courts Jeopardize User Protections: The TPP Investment Chapter contains text that would enable corporations to sue nations over democratic rules that allegedly harm expected future profits. Companies can use this process to undermine U.S. rules like fair use, net neutrality, and others designed to protect the free, open Internet and users’ rights to free expression online.
Overall, the Bill would legitimize the secret process that has led to these provisions, while doing nothing to ensure that these agreements would enable lawmakers to work towards striking the right balance between the interests of copyright holders and those of users and innovators. As such, we urge you to come out against the Fast Track bill and call on your colleagues in Congress to do the same.
ACN Telecommunications & Energy
Advanced Surfaces and Processes Inc.
Airborne Surfer Media
Aldine Publications, LLC
Alpine Travel Services
Archer Law Offices PC
Astonishing Legends Productions, LLC
Automation Technology, Inc.
Babel Consulting, Inc.
Bay Buys, LLC
Bead & Reel
Bilerico Media LLC
Black Hills Computer Consulting, Inc.
Blue Dog Mobile Marketing
Blue Gothic Design Studios, LLC
BlueTree Website Design
Butterflies & Blueberries, Inc
Cell Nation, Inc.
Chocolate Pocket, LLC
Collaborative Design and Planning
ComputerGiant Consulting, Inc.
Concentric Sky, Inc.
Connect Everywhere LLC
CONTEMPL8 T-SHIRTS LLC
Create Your Health, LLC
Cultural Circle Poetry Workshops
Curren Media Group
Deskninja Studios LLC
Dobson Computer Svcs
Duct Tape Programming
Edison Cimputers, Inc.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Ellicottville Real Estate
Engineered Fear, LLC
Eric A. Wessman, Photographer, LLC
Euphonic Studio LLC
Expri Communications LLC
Extracto Enterprises (dba Extracto Coffee Roasters)
FarSight Data Systems
FDA Consulting, LLC
Fight For the Future
FIVELEAF IT, INC.
GCP Design & Marketing
GR KOMPLETE PRODUCTIONS LLC.
Great Scott Technology LLC
Griffae Design, LLC
Hacktron Technology Inc.
Handmade Interactive LLC
Infinite Functions, Inc.
Inspiro Business Solutions
Intelligent Solutions, LLC
Juan Calvillo Photography
Knowledge Ecology International
Koame Systems International
Laurel Digital, LLC
Local Loop Farms
Local Wave Maker, LLC
Ludwig Sewing Machine Company
m & e tech new york
Marc Berner Music
Married to Health
Massachusetts Pirate Party
MCM Inventions, Inc.
Melody Lanes Recording
Merchant Services Group LLC
Minvera Hosting, LLC.
Moons Over Missouri
Mortar Data Inc.
Move To Amend
Munnich Design LLC
Myrick Visual, LLC
Natalie Cannon’s Editorial Services
Native American Films
Nelson Specialties Co.
North Coast Radiology
NY Tech Meetup
Ocean Motion Media, LLC
OceanSky Web Design
OnHolyGround Networks, LLC
Open Heart Press
Out Front Magazine
Participatory Culture Foundation
Personal Democracy Media
Personal Technology Consulting, LLC
Pete Miller’s Water and Wildlife Studio
Phosphoros Media, LLC
Private Internet Access™
Pryor Computer Forensics
Purple Sail Creative LLC
Read Andra Watkins LLC
Relatively Free Press
Right Angles Technologies Inc.
Rylen & Rhys Originals
Ryno Media House
San Juan Tech Services
San Juan Update
SEO Hosting and Design
Snap Synapse LLC
Sound Data Services
Spilled Milk Catering
Studio Z Mendocino
Success Systems International
Sue Kauffman Fitness
Tax Lien Software Development and Analytics LLC
That Ruled Productions
The Eagle Directory
The General Store Seattle
The Laboratory Arts Collective Llc
The Modern Trade
The Naked Villain Society
The Public Society
The Regulator Online
The Sound Guy, Inc.
Thompson Films, LLC
Thunder Puppy Art
Tiny Design Studio
tNY Creative LLC (DBA tNY.Press)
Tom’s computer repair
Trophies ‘N Tees
Twin Peaks Creative
USA Corporate Services Inc.
Whistling Kettle, LLC
Willow Technology, Inc.
WOMEN RISING RADIO
X Desk Publishing
“Hell hath no fury like the Internet scorned,” digital rights group warns Congress after Senate votes to advance “Fast Track” for the TPPPosted 16:43 EDT on May 14, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2015
Media contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457
WASHINGTON––Today the U.S. Senate voted to advance Trade Promotion Authority legislation to “Fast Track” the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. Digital rights groups, startups, and tech companies condemned the decision, pointing to the extreme secrecy of the trade negotiations process and Internet policy provisions that would stifle innovation, decrease online privacy, and open the door for global Internet censorship.
More than 7,500 startups, websites, and tech companies have joined an online protest against the bill, and Internet activists have driven more than 7,000 phone calls and 77,000 emails to Congress in recent weeks.
Fight for the Future, a leading technology policy nonprofit best known for its role in the massive SOPA blackouts and the Internet Slowdown protest for net neutrality, issued the following statement, which can be attributed to campaign director Evan Greer:
“Today the U.S. Senate put the entire Internet in danger by voting to advance anti-democratic Fast Track legislation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). But fortunately the entire Internet is coming together to sound the alarm, and tens of thousands of concerned netizens are contacting their lawmakers to demand that they stand up for free speech and online privacy by opposing the broken “Fast Track” process and call for the release of the TPP text.
The future of the Internet is too important to be decided in secret or through backroom deals and Senate horse-trading. “Fast Track” and the TPP have nothing to do with “free trade.” This obscure and bureaucratic process is being used by industry lobbyists quietly push for extreme policies that the public would never accept if they were proposed openly.
This should be clear: any member of Congress who votes for Fast Track / Trade Promotion Authority is voting against the basic rights of every Internet user in the world. They should take a look at recent history from SOPA to net neutrality: hell hath no fury like the Internet scorned.”
Fight for the Future has been one of the forefront groups opposing both Fast Track and the TPP and built the prominent StopFastTrack.com web page.
Last month, Fight for the Future made national headlines when they followed Senator Ron Wyden around his home state of Oregon with a 30’ blimp as part of ongoing protests against Fast Tracking the TPP. They also parked a JUMBOTRON on Capitol Hill as part of an anti-Fast Track film fest. Last year, the group delivered a letter to Senator Wyden signed by more than 25 companies including reddit and imgur opposing Fast Track legislation.Read More...