Fight for the Future

Tell President Barack Obama to keep his promise to the Internet and speak out for real net neutrality

Posted 16:36 EDT on September 23, 2014



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,
-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.

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FFTF joins civil liberties groups, whistleblowers like Daniel Ellsberg in calling for real NSA reform, not the dangerous USA Freedom Act

Posted 11:59 EDT on September 22, 2014

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,, 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:


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
CREDO Action
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

William Binney
Thomas Drake
Daniel Ellsberg
Mark Klein
Edward Loomis
Sascha Meinrath
J. Kirk Wiebe

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Press Release: Net neutrality activists park truck with giant video billboard directly across from FCC building in Washington, DC

Posted 12:08 EDT on September 15, 2014

September 15th, 2014

Media Contact:
Ted Worcester, Namecheap

Phone: 508-952-0110

Evan Greer, Fight for the Future
Phone: 978-852-6457

Net neutrality activists set up giant video billboard outside the FCC

Domain registrar Namecheap and #InternetSlowdown organizers Fight for the Future have parked a truck with an 11’ video billboard directly across from the FCC building in Washington, DC. Title II supporters will play a steady stream of net neutrality videos sent from Internet users around the world. The billboard will remain through the FCC’s comment deadline tonight and during their Roundtable hearings on Tuesday.

WASHINGTON– Building off the momentum of last week’s record-breaking Internet Slowdown protest, net neutrality supporters have obtained a permit to park a truck with a roof-mounted 11’ wide video billboard directly outside FCC headquarters in Washington, DC. The billboard will be playing a stream of net neutrality related videos sent in from the Internet, including videos from today’s net neutrality rallies in NYC, Philadelphia, and Chicago, and webcam appeals from Internet users everywhere explaining why net neutrality matters to them.

Fight for the Future has posted an appeal for Internet users to submit videos to play on the billboard here:

Scroll to the bottom of this release for some initial photos. More photos will be available soon, some high-res photos available here.

The billboard action is supported by Fight for the Future, but is being coordinated by domain registrar Namecheap, who participated in the Internet Slowdown, and have released their own viral video to educate the Internet public about what’s at stake in the fight for net neutrality. Internet Slowdown organizers Free Press are also supporting the action, and are coordinating a gathering outside the FCC on Sept 16th at 11:45am.

“Washington DC is worlds away from the vast majority of Internet users who would suffer from the FCC’s current proposal,” said Ted Worcester, Head of Product at Namecheap, who is camped out with a laptop running the video billboard across the street from the agency’s headquarters, “The video billboard helps give more people a way to get their message right in front of the FCC. Thanks to the open Internet, its easy for people to send us videos about why net neutrality matters to them.”

“The FCC is in a pretty lonely part of Washington DC,” said Holmes Wilson, co-founder of Fight for the Future, “Hopefully this video billboard will help brighten things up– with the voices of millions of people who are passionate about keeping the Internet free.”

“Advocacy groups have been calling for months for the FCC to get out of Washington DC to hear from the public before they make a decision that would allow for discrimination on the Internet,” said Evan Greer, Campaign Director of Fight for the Future, who helped coordinate the billboard effort, “If the FCC won’t go to the people, we’ll bring the people to the FCC, projected larger than life on a billboard that can’t be ignored. They need to get the message that we’re not going away – it’s Title II or bust.”

The action on the 16th is supported by Fight for the Future, Namecheap, Free Press, Demand Progress, and Popular Resistance. Fight for the Future, Free Press, and Demand Progress all contributed to organizing the Battle for the Net Internet Slowdown, in which over 40,000 websites (including huge sites like Reddit, Namecheap, Netflix, Etsy, Vimeo, Mozilla and many more) ran prominent warnings of an impending slowdown of Internet speeds if the FCC ends net neutrality. During the protest, Internet users made over 760,000 comments to the FCC and over 300,000 phone calls to Congress (See: Infographic: the Internet Slowdown in Numbers and Screenshots).


See below for some more great photos. More coming soon! Press inquiries contact or call 978-852-6457.

Crowd gathering outside the FCC right now as the billboard attracts attention from press, passersby, and FCC employees.

Senator Ron Wyden sent a video to be played on the screen in support of net neutrality through Title II reclassification.


9:30am the billboard is up and playing a video of Lawrence Lessig explaining the importance of Title II reclassification.


Folks from Namecheap are there with flyers to talk to FCC employees and pedestrians about why the Internet cares so much about net neutrality.


The billboard directly faces the FCC’s headquarters, and FCC employees can be seen looking down from the windows. Impossible to ignore.


The billboard will play a steady stream of videos in support of Title II net neutrality. Internet users are encouraged to submit videos to play on the billboard through this form.

An FCC employee stops to take a picture of the giant billboard.

Photo credits: Namecheap team. These photos are available for use by press.

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Fight for the Future and Namecheap have parked a truck with a giant video billboard directly across the street from the FCC!

Posted 11:23 EDT on September 15, 2014


This just in! We’ve teamed up with our friends at domain registrar Namecheap to bring the overwhelming public outcry for real net neutrality protections directly to the agency’s doorstep.

As the hours count down to the FCC’s net neutrality comment deadline, we have obtained a permit to park a truck with a giant video billboard on top directly across the street from the FCC facing the agency’s headquarters! It’s amazing! We’re attracting tons of attention already.

Got something to say to the FCC? Send us a link to your video and we’ll play it on the billboard!

Are you in Washington, DC? Join us, Free Press, and Popular Resistance on Tuesday, September 16th as we gather near the billboard to call for the FCC to get out of DC and listen to the public! More info here. 

We’ll be here until the end of the day Tuesday playing a steady stream of videos about net neutrality. The FCC needs to hear from everyone – but not everyone can make it to DC to speak out. The billboard gives us all a platform from which to speak, just like the free and open Internet!

Internet, send us your videos! Take a short 1-2 minute video of yourself explaining why net neutrality matters to you, and we’ll play it on the billboard for Tom Wheeler and everyone at the FCC. Use the form below to submit your video or email it directly to with the subject line “Billboard submission.”

Need some inspiration for what your net neutrality video should be like? Check out this awesome video that Namecheap made! They’ll be playing it once an hour to make sure the FCC gets the message.

Namecheap gets that Internet Freedom isn’t just a good idea, it’s a critical fight for the future of the entire web. Not only are they making the billboard action possible, but they’re helping raise funds for Fight for the Future to support our ongoing work for net neutrality. Head over to and share the video there and they’ll donate to us each time!

Need more encouragement to submit your own video? Get ready for Harry Potter to break it down for you. Thanks to the Harry Potter Alliance.

See below for some more great photos. More coming soon! Press inquiries contact or call 978-852-6457.

Crowd gathering right now outside the FCC as the billboard attracts attention from press, FCC employees, and passersby.


Folks from Namecheap are there with flyers to talk to FCC employees and pedestrians about why the Internet cares so much about net neutrality.


The billboard directly faces the FCC’s headquarters, and FCC employees can be seen looking down from the windows. Impossible to ignore.


The billboard will play a steady stream of videos in support of Title II net neutrality. Internet users are encouraged to submit videos to play on the billboard through this form.

Photo credits: Namecheap team. These photos are available for use by press.

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This infographic will make your day, unless you happen to be a Comcast lobbyist

Posted 15:06 EDT on September 13, 2014


Thanks to you, the Internet Slowdown was a resounding success. More people took action to defend net neutrality in one day than ever before in history.

Click here to check out this inspiring infographic showing what we did together on September 10th. It will seriously make your day, unless you happen to be a Comcast lobbyist.

Have a look. Like what you see?

Please chip in $5 so we can keep the fight going.

The slowdown was so big it was impossible to ignore. Several members of Congress tweeted about how their phones were ringing off the hook, and we dominated the mainstream news headlines. More than 40,000 websites took part, including many of the most popular sites in the world, and at the peak of the day, there were more than 1,000 phone calls to congress every minute!

This changes everything. Victory is more tangible now than ever before. But we still need to bring it home. Now that we’ve shown our strength, the giant Cable companies that are lobbying tooth and nail to destroy net neutrality will redouble their efforts, and work every connection they have to keep the public’s voice from being heard in Washington, DC.

There’s only one solution: we have to fight even harder, and grow our movement even larger, and we have to be ready to battle for the net for the long haul.

Organizing the Internet Slowdown day and hosting the website used up a huge amount of our resources. Will you chip in $5 (or more!) today to make sure we can keep the pressure on while we have so much momentum?

Yes, I will chip in today to save net neutrality!

All of us here at Fight for the Future are so proud of the Internet right now. Now more than ever it’s so clear how powerful the Internet really is as a platform for free speech, and how absolutely critical it is that we not only fight for it, but we fight to win.

With gratitude and determination,
-Tiffiniy, Holmes, Evan, Jeff, Kevin, Vasjen, and Jessica
Fight for the Future

P.S. The deadline to submit comments to the FCC is this Monday, September 15th. We’re helping plan protests on that day in NYC and Philadelphia. There’s still time to submit a comment. If you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for?! Here’s the link:

P.P.S We really want everyone to see this infographic, it’s so epic! Check it out here:

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