Posted 14:35 EDT on October 14, 2014
Dear Fight for the Future member,
Thousands of people have already taken action to demand that the FCC block the Comcast merger with Time Warner Cable. The calls and signatures are coming in every minute!
The deadline for public comment is on October 29th, so it’s critical that we spread the word about the Comcast takeover before we run out of time. We need to get to 100,000 comments so we can get the attention of Comcast and the FCC commissioners. If everyone who signed the petition also shares this image to spread the word, we’ll have so much power that FCC and Comcast won’t be able to ignore us.
P.S. If you haven’t submitted your comment to the FCC yet, you can still do that by clicking here.
Fight for the Future
Posted 13:41 EDT on October 7, 2014
Over the summer, more than 140,000 Fight for the Future members signed petitions calling out Facebook for abusing their users data. We’ve just seen the first signs that our advocacy is having an impact.
On Thursday, October 2nd, Facebook officially apologized for the unethical emotional manipulation experiment that they conducted on more than 600,000 users without their knowledge or consent.
Check out this article in The Verge about Facebook’s apology: http://www.theverge.com/2014/10/2/6894499/facebook-apologizes-for-manipulating-news-feeds-in-psychology-experiment
We’re committed to fighting year round to protect your right to freedom, choice, and privacy online.
Want to support this critical work? Please donate $5 (or more) today!
Posted 16:06 EDT on October 2, 2014
Dear Fight for the Future member,
Urgent: there are just a few days left to stop Comcast from taking over Time Warner Cable and controlling most of the Internet. Click here to take action now.
This one really requires no explanation. The most hated company in the US is trying to take over the second most hated company in the US, in a move that would raise our cable and Internet bills, stifle online free speech, and make them one of the most powerful lobbies in history. 
This merger is bad for EVERYONE, and there is tons of opposition, even from within the FCC. We have a real chance at stopping this but we have to act quickly. 
The deadline is next week! Click here to stop Comcast in its tracks.
Comcast is already the largest and most powerful opponent of net neutrality, online privacy, and Internet freedom. They’ve been caught several times abusing their “gatekeeper” power as an Internet provider to further their own interests.  If the FCC lets Comcast forcibly absorb Time Warner Cable – the second largest Internet provider in the U.S. – they will control access to information in nearly 6 of 10 people’s homes (more if you’re only counting truly high speed Internet). 
Millions of you have sent comments to the FCC in support of net neutrality. We’re asking for your help again because if this merger goes through, Comcast gets even more powerful – in the marketplace, online, and in Washington, DC. If we don’t stop this takeover right now, we’ll be fighting an uphill battle on net neutrality and online free speech for years to come.
Will you sign? Click here to submit a comment opposing the Comcast merger.
After you sign, please forward this email to everyone you know and share the petition on social media.
Here’s the link one last time: https://battleforthenet.com/comcast
Thanks for all that you do,
Fight for the Future
Posted 16:36 EDT on September 23, 2014
Brad Reed. “Massive survey finds Comcast and TWC are the two most hated companies in America – period”. BGR. http://bgr.com/2014/05/20/comcast-twc-customer-satisfaction-survey-study/
Brendan Sasso. “FCC Chief: Cable Companies Are Wrong About Internet Competition”. National Journal. http://www.nationaljournal.com/tech/fcc-chief-comcast-is-wrong-about-internet-competition-20140904
Cecilia Kang. “Comcast, Time Warner Cable merger faces a grilling in Washington this week”. Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/04/08/comcast-time-warner-cable-merger-faces-a-grilling-in-washington-this-week/
S. Derek Turner and Matt Wood. “Petition to deny free press”. Free Press. http://www.freepress.net/sites/default/files/resources/Free%20Press_14-57_Petition%20to%20Deny_Final.pdf
Today we are asking everyone to take urgent action to tell President Barack Obama to keep his campaign promises and immediately take steps to protect net neutrality.
Will you sign the petition telling President Obama to keep his word? Click here.
Here’s the latest: Fight for the Future’s co-founder Tiffiniy Cheng is on her way to the White House right now. She’s been invited to take part in a conversation about net neutrality, in response to a letter we sent with many other groups calling on the White House to endorse Title II reclassification (aka real net neutrality).
Tiffiniy is there for one thing: to tell Obama’s staff point blank that it’s time for the President to do his job and make good on the many promises he made during his campaign. Candidate Obama said he would “take a backseat to no one” in defense of net neutrality and that he would ensure that commissioners he appointed to the FCC would act accordingly.
But so far, that has all been empty talk. Click here to tell President Obama to keep his promise to keep the Internet free.
The situation couldn’t be more urgent. We just heard from a close friend in DC that after the Internet Slowdown Cable company lobbyists descended in droves and have been tag teaming the FCC and members of Congress, making veiled threats and calling net neutrality supporters “extremists.”
Obama keeps saying that the FCC is an independent agency and his hands are tied, but that’s simply not true. Obama has the power to demote Tom Wheeler (the telecom lobbyist that he appointed as the head of the FCC) and promote an FCC commissioner who will actually do their job and stand up to companies like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon for the public good.
Click here to sign the petition demanding that President Obama do his job and protect net neutrality.
We’ve come so far over the last month but we could still win or lose this fight and every moment counts. Please sign the petition and share with your friends. We’re counting on you.
For the Internet,
Posted 11:59 EDT on September 22, 2014
-Evan and Holmes
Fight for the Future
P.S. This is the biggest fight of our lives. Bigger than SOPA, CISPA, or any of the bad bills we’ve defeated. Can you help us break the cable lobby’s grip on Congress and the FCC? Please chip in $5 today.
Fight for the Future is proud to join civil liberties advocates, organizations from across the political spectrum, and whistleblowers like Daniel Ellsberg in urging members of Congress to oppose the NSA reform bill known as the USA FREEDOM Act (S. 2685). Last week, our coalition sent the following letter to members in the House and Senate.
The letter (PDF) was signed by whistleblowers William Binney, Thomas Drake, Daniel Ellsberg, Mark Klein, Edward Loomis and J. Kirk Wiebe, as well as Campaign for Liberty, CREDO Action, Emptywheel, Fight for the Future, Firedoglake, OffNow, Participatory Politics Foundation, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Progressive Change Institute, Restore The Fourth, RootsAction.org, Sascha Meinrath, Tenth Amendment Center, The Rhode Island Coalition to Defend Human and Civil Rights, The Sunlight Foundation and ThoughtWorks.
If you support true reform for the intelligence community, please add your name to this letter and call your elected officials to urge them to vote “no” on the USA FREEDOM Act.
Media contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Members of Congress,
We, the undersigned civil liberties advocates, organizations, and whistleblowers, are alarmed that Senator Leahy’s recently introduced bill, the USA FREEDOM Act (S. 2685), legalizes currently illegal surveillance activities, grants immunity to corporations that collaborate to violate privacy rights, reauthorizes the PATRIOT Act for an additional 2.5 years, and fails to reform EO 12333 or Section 702, other authorities used to collect large amounts of information on Americans. For these reasons, we encourage both the House and the Senate to oppose this legislation in its current form.
Governmental security agencies’ zeal for collecting Americans’ personal information without regard for cost, efficacy, legality, or public support necessitates that Congress act to protect the rights of residents across the United States and around the globe. Our fundamental civil rights – the human rights we hold dear – are not adequately protected by either the Senate or House versions of the USA FREEDOM Act.
The reckless actions of top officials charged with ensuring national security – from lying to Congress to secretly weakening security standards to hacking the communications of our allies – has undermined global confidence that the United States can act as an ethical Internet steward. The 11th-hour gutting of the USA FREEDOM Act in the House of Representatives and the CIA’s recent illegal spying on the U.S. Senate underscore just how powerful and out of control this surveillance regime has become. Time and again, these agencies have relied on aggressive manipulation of legal loopholes to thoroughly undermine safeguards and checks and balances.
As just one example of why clarity in law is now necessary, the collection of information on all domestic phone calls was justified under the “relevancy” standard in the PATRIOT Act. The NSA claimed that all domestic telephone metadata records were “relevant” to ongoing terrorism investigations and therefore legally collectible. This absurd interpretation – that everyone’s calls were relevant and no probable cause was needed – was then rubber-stamped by a secret court in an ex parte hearing. Such secret law is repugnant to the Fourth Amendment and the plain meaning of the legal authorities on which the Intelligence Community has relied.
The USA FREEDOM Act (S. 2685) also contains ambiguities that are ripe for abuse:
The bill does not define “direct connection” in the new Call Detail Record provision of Section 215. This may permit the government to access the data from Americans’ smart phones through telecommunication providers, which the USA FREEDOM Act immunizes from customer lawsuits. This would be an expansion of the NSA’s current authority.
- Loopholes in Section 215, such as the authority to collect phone records in other than daily production or to use a corporation, organization, or government entity as a specific selection term, still permit bulk data collection, and the bill’s transparency provisions do not include production under those loopholes in reporting requirements.
- The bill expands on the emergency provision approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) in February, creating new powers for the government to retain data and introduce it as evidence even if the courts reject the NSA’s petition to collect it.
S. 2685 fails to substantially rein in surveillance, and stops short of establishing adequate oversight:
- The bill does not safeguard against warrantless (“back door”) searches on the content of Americans’ communications collected under Section 702.
- The bill does not require reporting on the FBI’s warrantless searches of U.S. persons’ content, even when there is no evidence of wrongdoing against those people. Similarly, it does not require reporting on the collection of things like credit card records or information about Western Union transfers, among many other kinds of information, which would allow the government to hide ongoing bulk collection of those items.
- The bill does not prevent the use of Executive Order 12333 to conduct bulk collection.
S. 2685 fails to protect against future privacy invasions of innocent people. At a minimum, meaningful privacy safeguards should:
- Protect individuals from surveillance where they are not within two degrees of direct communication with an individual subject to authorized surveillance, and prohibit holding of information collected about innocent people. These protections should be expressed as affirmative rights of United States persons, not merely as a modification to a single law.
- Prohibit the use of metadata for connection chaining where it represents contact with companies or federal, state, or local governments. Because so many people rely on these entities, such as Google or municipal governments, contact chaining through them would collect substantial amounts of information on most Americans.
- Prohibit the government from hacking into or otherwise interfering with companies and other non-governmental organizations, and the people whose information they hold, so long as they comply with warrants and court orders.
- Preserve the rights of Americans to pursue legal recourse against companies where they fail to exercise reasonable care in protecting individuals’ information, including at the request of government actors not acting pursuant to a legal warrant or court order. The bill currently gives blanket immunity to companies responding to any government order, no matter how outrageous.
- Include efforts made by the U.S. House of Representatives, such as the Lofgren-Massie Amendment and the Grayson amendments focused on rehabilitating the National Institute of Standards and Technology Act.
- Improve oversight by creating reporting processes and protections for whistleblowers that disclose information to members of Congress.
- Require more than summaries of the secret interpretations of law made by government agencies and the FISC.
- Not reauthorize the USA PATRIOT Act.
Congress must narrowly and unambiguously define the Intelligence Community’s surveillance authority. Sen. Leahy’s USA FREEDOM Act fails this basic test, and is not the substantive reform originally envisioned and supported by the public.
Indeed, the USA FREEDOM Act has significant potential to degrade, rather than improve, the surveillance status quo. At best, even if faithfully implemented, the current bill will erect limited barriers to Section 215, only one of the various legal justifications for surveillance, create additional loopholes, and provide a statutory framework for some of the most problematic surveillance policies, all while reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act. Given the several broad legal authorities claimed as justifications for mass surveillance of United States persons and non-United States persons, it remains unclear if the Senate’s USA FREEDOM Act would end any of the Intelligence Community’s clandestine programs to surveil Americans.
For these reasons, we call on the House and the Senate to reject this version of the USA FREEDOM Act. As long as S. 2685 contains ambiguous language that can be abused by the Intelligence Community and lacks language that clearly protects innocent Americans, we believe that focusing on USA PATRIOT Act reauthorization next year, remedies in the courts, aggressive confirmation hearings for personnel, and defunding of Intelligence Agencies are more constructive paths forward.
Campaign for Liberty
Fight for the Future
Participatory Politics Foundation
Progressive Change Campaign Committee
Progressive Change Institute
Restore The Fourth
Tenth Amendment Center
The Rhode Island Coalition to Defend Human and Civil Rights
The Sunlight Foundation
J. Kirk Wiebe