Fight for the Future

Censorship might be dead. Here’s why.

Posted 18:24 EDT on August 13, 2014

Dear Fight for the Future member,

Imagine how awful it would be if your favorite websites were blocked by your government. And if, no matter how tech-savvy you were, every tool or trick you used to escape censorship was blocked in a matter of months.

That’s what life is like for China’s entire population of 1.3 billion people. In the country that produces 90% of the world’s smartphones, you can’t even reach YouTube – and the government shuts down anti-censorship tools as soon as they become popular.

But now, there’s a new hope in the fight against censors: Lantern.

Lantern is an app that anyone can run to fight censorship. When you run it, you join a global network: If your Internet is uncensored, you *give* uncensored access to others. If your Internet is censored, you can *get* uncensored access via someone else.

Can you take one step right now that will help thousands break free from Internet censorship? Download and install Lantern!

Lantern’s features make it really hard to block. It disguises its traffic and bounces it through popular, costly-to-censor services. It also builds a giant cloud of volunteer proxies, using a “six degrees of separation” trick to find friends of friends to proxy through, increasing the number of internet addresses involved and making it impractical for censors to block every one. But to make this work, we need thousands of people (you!) to download Lantern and run it.

Sometimes the Internet wins by banding together as a community. Sometimes we win through clever technical tricks. This time, the problem requires both: we need to come together around tools like this to get a victory.

Lantern is free, open source, and just takes a minute. Can you install Lantern and help beat China’s censors?

Once you install it, you forget it’s there. I’ve been running Lantern for months now with no issues. Please do install it now!


Holmes Wilson

Fight for the Future

P.S. We’re excited to partner with Lantern to help spread this freedom fighting software far and wide. They’re a non-profit like us, and they’re running an indiegogo campaign right now. If you’re psyched, you should donate; Lantern is a 501©3 non-profit and the proceeds will go to a great cause!

P.P.S. Lantern is built for Mac, Windows, and Linux. If you’re seeing this email on your phone, can you share it instead?

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Comcast caught red-handed (this is why we need net neutrality)

Posted 22:13 EDT on August 5, 2014

Dear Fight for the Future member,

Did you read this article about net neutrality that Comcast had censored? Like many attempts at corporate censorship, it totally backfired.

We could hardly ask for a more perfect example of what the stakes are in the Battle for the Net. If we lose net neutrality, there will be nothing to stop Internet providers like Comcast from going on a censorship rampage – picking and choosing what we can and can’t see based on whether it aligns with their corrupt interests.

Why was Comcast so intent on censoring the article in question? It exposed some of their most immoral lobbying efforts, using astroturf groups to attempt to speak on behalf of communities of color. This isn’t the first time an ISP has been caught outright in this type of scam – last month the leaders of national Deaf advocacy organizations embarrassed Verizon for attempting to convince Congress that net neutrality rules would be bad for people with disabilities.

We know that the big Cable companies are playing dirty, and have tons of money to amplify their twisted versions of the truth, but we’re ready for them.

So who’s on Team Cable cheerleading for censorship and who’s on Team Internet standing up for free speech through Title II reclassification?

Well, we just updated with a new political scoreboard so you can find out which side of the battle politicians and companies are choosing. Click here to check it out and share.

The next few weeks will be key as we build up our resistance to Comcast and co’s attempt at net domination. As we get closer to the FCC’s September deadline and decision, we’ll be striking harder and more often, and we’ll need everyone to step up and challenge themselves to do more.

Thursday, August 7th at 4pm EDT, we’re hosting a strategy call for anyone and everyone who wants to get more involved in the fight for net neutrality. Want to join? Click here to RSVP.

We’ll be listing the strategy call publicly on the site, but we wanted to give Fight for the Future members a heads up. It’s tomorrow at 4pm EDT.

Hope to talk to you then!

For Team Internet,
-Evan at Fight for the Future

Please chip in $10 today to help us keep winning in the battle for the net.

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The Reset continues!

Posted 17:32 EDT on July 31, 2014

Today we’re excited to announce the latest parts of the web that we’re making off-limits to government surveillance as part of our ongoing campaign to Reset the Net.

Have you reclaimed your privacy yet? Click here to get started.

Last month we launched Reset the Net with a bang on and we reached billions of people. The largest websites on earth participated, and we vowed to continue our work to secure the Internet site by site, app by app, and user by user.

Despite the resounding success of Reset the Net and the growing public outcry against mass surveillance, Congress seems intent on dragging their feet and pushing legislation that’s full of loopholes. We at Fight for the Future are disappointed with the latest Senate version of the USA Freedom Act, as it contains vague language that could potentially make things worse than the status quo. We’ll be working to demand improvements, but we’re not willing to wait.

By refusing to pass meaningful reform on this issue, the government is giving us no choice but to redouble our efforts to mount a digital self-defense against mass spying.

Here’s the awesome news in this month’s Reset the Net announcement:

  • Namecheap just launched, a one-stop site that makes it easy to add SSL encryption to your website for just $1.99 (and some gets donated to us!)

  • GSM Nation, a major seller of unlocked smartphones, is joining Reset the Net by including a physical “Privacy Pack” insert in the thousands of phones they ship.

  • reddit, with 115 million unique visitors a month, vowed to continue offering free advertising to privacy-related startups for the duration of the Reset the Net campaign. Got an app they should feature? Tell us on Twitter or reply to this email.

  • The Student Net Alliance, a new network of campus groups working for Internet freedom, launched a Campus Internet Policy Gradebook to pressure colleges and universities to adopt better practices to protect student privacy and free speech rights.

  • Open Whisper Systems announced this week the launch of Signal, a new app allowing for FREE and easy end-to-end encrypted phone calls worldwide on iPhone. Check it out and start making phone calls in privacy!

We’ll be announcing a new round of Reset the Net participants, and escalating our actions and demands each month. Want to be included in the next wave? Know an organization, company, news outlet, or app that should be included? Reply to this email and let us know.

No matter who you are, you can take a few simple steps to secure your own devices, protecting your and your family’s privacy. Check out the Reset the Net privacy pack, and share it widely today:

For the Internet,
-Tiffiniy and Evan
Fight for the Future & Reset the Net

PS. If you missed the launch of Reset the Net, check out this awesome infographic to see the incredible thigns we’ve accomplished so far.

P.P.S. Organizing a single day of action like we did on June 5th is a major effort, but organizing a long term effort to secure the web is even more epic. Want to help support this work? Please chip in today.

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Press Release: Organizers of largest ever effort to secure the web against mass surveillance announce next phase of "Reset the Net"

Posted 13:52 EDT on July 31, 2014


July 31, 2014

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

Organizers of largest ever effort to secure the web against mass surveillance announce next phase of “Reset the Net

Fight for the Future, the digital rights group behind last month’s successful “Reset the Net” campaign, vow to announce new participants and actions each month to spread the use of encryption technology and make more and more of the web off-limits to mass surveillance.

Today, organizers of the Reset the Net campaign unveiled the latest advances in Internet’s collective push to block out mass government surveillance. This month’s participants include smartphone retailer GSM Nation who will add educational Reset the Net inserts to phones they ship, domain registrar Namecheap who launched to encourage more sites to encrypt, reddit, who pledged to run free ads for privacy startups, and the Student Net Alliance who announced a campaign to grade campuses based on their Internet freedom and privacy policies.

“Last month it was clear that the resounding echoes of the Reset the Net launch had been heard in the chambers of Congress when the House voted to pass amendments that would have meaningfully reined in NSA and FBI spying,” said Tiffiniy Cheng, co-founder of Fight for the Future, “But the Senate voted to kill those amendments, and the latest version of the USA Freedom Act contains dangerously vague language that could potentially worsen the status quo. By dragging their feet on this issue, Congress is forcing the public to take matters into their own hands. They’re saying: encrypt or get spied on. What choice do we have?”

Reset the Net was launched last month on June 5th, the anniversary of the first Snowden revelation in The Guardian and Washington Post. The campaign reached billions of people and involved the largest websites on earth including Wordpress, Twitter, Google, Tumblr, Wikipedia, reddit, Mozilla, and Minecraft. As part of the effort, many sites pledged to add SSL, HSTS, and Perfect Forward Secrecy to their sites to protect user privacy, while others helped promote the free and open source encryption tools in the Reset the Net Privacy Pack.

Edward Snowden endorsed the campaign during a video appearance on June 5th, saying, “We’re past the point where citizens are entirely dependent on governments to defend our rights. We don’t have to ask for our privacy, we can take it back.” He also submitted a written statement in support of the campaign.

Reset the Net organizers vow to announce a new round of participants each month, and to continue escalating their demands on governments and corporations to end mass suspicionless surveillance.

This month’s Reset the Net announcements:

  • GSM Nation, a major phone retailer, announced that they will join Reset the Net by including a physical “privacy pack” insert in thousands of mobile devices that they ship to educate customers about free and open source applications they can use to protect their mobile privacy. They also announced that they will soon be offering the privacy-conscious Blackphone, as part of an ongoing collaboration with Fight for the Future.

  • Leading domain registrar Namecheap launched, a one stop website in partnership with Reset the Net that makes it easy and cheap for webmasters to protect their visitors’ privacy by adding SSL encryption to their sites for just $1.99 (of which $1 is donated to Fight for the Future to support the campaign.) During the June launch of Reset the Net, Namecheap distributed more than 6,000 SSL certificates, organizers set a goal of 10,000 by the end of August.

  • Student Net Alliance, a new international network of student-run Internet freedom groups, announced the launch of the Campus Internet Policy Gradebook, which will grade colleges and universities’ policies based on 10 criteria including how they manage student data, relationships with NSA and other agencies, free speech protections, student intellectual property rights, transparency reporting, and encryption of data. Student organizers will be collecting data this Fall and launching campaigns based on their findings. More on Student Net Alliance here.

  • reddit, “the front page of the Internet” with more than 115 million monthly visitors, committed to continue running free advertisements for privacy startups to give a boost to the many new easy-to-use encryption technologies that have been developed since the Snowden revelations.

  • Open Whisper Systems this week unveiled Signal, a free and open source app allowing for worldwide encrypted phone calls on iPhone. They further announced that Signal will become one unified app that will replace TextSecure and RedPhone on Android, and will soon have a browser extension option, allowing for user friendly end-to-end encrypted communication on nearly any device.

Below are statements from some of this month’s Reset the Net participants:

Laura Harrison Director of Marketing at GSM Nation said, “We believe that everyone should have the right to keep their personal information private, including information stored on their mobile devices. To that end, we’re excited to partner with Fight For the Future to educate users who purchase cell phones from GSM Nation about the steps they can take to keep their mobile devices secure. By implementing these suggestions, mobile users can begin taking steps to protect their information from prying eyes.”

“We were proud to support the first push for Reset the Net in June, where we helped distribute thousands of SSL certificates,” said Richard Kirkendall, CEO of Namecheap, “All of us here at Namecheap believe deeply in the importance of a free and open Internet. We’re glad to be a positive part of the solution to enhance internet privacy.”

“Last month, hundreds of students came together to protest mass surveillance on college campuses. But some of the most egregious violations of privacy are committed by the universities themselves, ” said Alec Foster, Executive Director of Student Net Alliance, “That’s why we’re announcing the Campus Internet Policy Gradebook: a resource to not only help students learn about innovation and privacy policies at their schools, but to let students compare their school’s policies to other institutions. In addition, the recommendations for improvement can help students identify and work to change problematic policies on campus.”

“Repairing the damage that the NSA has done to our online privacy isn’t something you can accomplish in a day, it’s going to take time,” said Erik Martin, general manager of reddit, “There’s been an exciting surge in the development of easy-to-use privacy technology in the wake of the Snowden revelations, we aim to do our part to get those tools into the hands of everyday Internet users who want to protect themselves from illegal surveillance.”


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