Fight for the Future


Reports: Facebook and Google say they are joining net neutrality day of action on July 12

Posted 18:49 EDT on July 6, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, July 6, 2017
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

Thousands of websites plan massive online protest for July 12th. Other participants include Twitter, Amazon, Reddit, Netflix, OK Cupid, Mozilla, Etsy, Kickstarter, Vimeo, and PornHub

Representatives for Facebook and Google have told multiple reporters that the web giants plan to participate in the Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality scheduled for July 12th to oppose the FCC’s plan to slash Title II, the legal foundation for net neutrality rules that protect online free speech and innovation. Twitter, Reddit, Netflix, Amazon, Kickstarter, Etsy, Vimeo, Private Internet Access, Mozilla, OK Cupid, Imgur, PornHub, Medium, and hundreds of other major sites are also participating.

“We have not heard directly from either Facebook or Google, but we’re glad to hear that these companies are listening to their employees and Internet users and will speak out for net neutrality with the rest of the Internet on July 12,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, “In previous years these companies have often been on the sidelines of these fights, so we hope that they plan to do something meaningful in the spirit of the protest and educate their users about what’s at stake if we lose net neutrality protections that protect our online free speech, and give them opportunities to take action.”

Media attention for online mobilizations tends to focus on the big names participating, but there is a much more interesting story: a rag tag coalition of Internet activists huddled over their laptops in coworking spaces, home offices, and coffee shops, who are the ones who came up with the idea, called for, and organized the protest, and have since been working together to lay the groundwork, build the technical tools, and create the educational resources that make it possible for large and small websites to participate in these mass days of action. It’s a grassroots effort involving dozens of volunteers working together in Slack channels, outreach spreadsheets, endless email chains, organizing in online communities and forums, and an enormous amount of creativity and digital elbow grease.

More than 50,000 people, sites, and organizations have signed on to the effort overall, and more announcements from major companies are expected in the coming days. Participants will display prominent messages on their homepages on July 12 or encourage users to take action in other ways, using push notifications, videos, social media, and emails.

See the announcement for the day of action here: https://battleforthenet.com/july12  

See examples of what sites are doing on July 12 here: https://www.battleforthenet.com/july12#join

The effort is led by many of the grassroots groups behind the largest online protests in history including the SOPA blackout and the Internet Slowdown. The day of action will focus on grassroots mobilization, with public interest groups activating their members and major web platforms providing their visitors with tools to contact Congress and the FCC.

Other sites and apps participating include Soundcloud, Medium, Y Combinator, GitHub, Pantheon, Bittorrent Inc., Shapeways, Nextdoor, Stack Overflow, Funny Or Die, Dreamhost, and CREDO Mobile, Goldenfrog, Fark, Chess.com, Namecheap, DuckDuckGo, Checkout.com, Sonic, Ting, ProtonMail, O’Reilly Media, SlashDot, Dribble, Dischord, SourceForge, and Union Square Ventures. Organizations participating include Fight for the Future, Free Press Action Fund, Demand Progress, Center for Media Justice, EFF,  Internet Association, Internet Archive, World Wide Web Foundation, Creative Commons, National Hispanic Media Coalition, Greenpeace, Common Cause, ACLU, Rock the Vote, American Library Association, Daily Kos, OpenMedia, The Nation, PCCC, MoveOn, OFA, Public Knowledge, OTI, Color of Change, MoveOn, Free Software Foundation, Internet Creators Guild, the Women’s March, and many others.

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100+ high-profile online creators sign open letter to FCC and Congress opposing plans to gut net neutrality

Posted 21:25 EDT on July 5, 2017
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, July 6, 2017

Contact: Laura Chernikoff, +1-303-819-8733, laura@internetcreatorsguild.com
Evan Greer, Fight for the Future, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

Prominent YouTube creators with over 165 million collective subscribers describe how slashing Title II protections threatens the Internet economy, innovation, and creativity

July 6, 2017 – A group of 130 prominent online video creators from across the country have expressed serious concerns with the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) plans to roll back net neutrality protections for Internet users across the country. In an open letter released today, creators warn that if the FCC slashes Title II – the strong legal foundation for U.S. net neutrality protections – the impacts of allowing Internet service providers to block, throttle, and charge fees would be immense for online video creators, many of whose audiences rival traditional media in size.

The letter, organized by the Internet Creators Guild, highlights the skyrocketing popularity in video traffic over the past decade, and warns that any weakening of the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order “…would have an outsized impact on our field and jeopardize our livelihood.” The letter’s signatories, who collectively reach over 165 million people in their audiences, worry that a loss of net neutrality will give Internet service providers (ISPs) new influence over how online creators are able to grow their businesses. They argue that these protections are crucial to maintaining a level playing field. The organizers are encouraging more people to sign on, as names are being added on rolling basis.

Notable signatories include:

1. Hank and John Green of Vlogbrothers, SciShow, and CrashCourse (13 million subscribers)

2. Benny Fine of FineBrothersEntertainment (15 million subscribers)

3. Dane Boedigheimer of Annoying Orange (15 million subscribers)

4. Ned Fulmer of BuzzFeedVideo (12.6 million subscribers)

5. Burnie Burns of Rooster Teeth (9 million subscribers)

6. Meg DeAngelis of MayBaby (5.6 million subscribers)

7. Mindy McKnight of CuteGirlHairstyles (5 million subscribers).

8. Sam Gorski of Corridor Digital (4.3 million subscribers)

9. Jon Cozart of Paint (4 million subscribers)

10. Kandee Johnson of Kandee Johnson (3.8 million subscribers)

11. Henry Reich of MinutePhysics (3.8 million subscribers)

12. Rob Czar and Corinne Leigh of Threadbanger (3.7 million subscribers)

13. Andrew Rose Gregory of The Gregory Brothers (3 million subscribers)

14. Julia Gilman of BeautyTakeIn (2.6 million subscribers)

15. Anna Akana of Anna Akana (1.8 million subscribers)

“Strong, enforceable net neutrality protections are essential to ensure leading figures in online video can continue revolutionizing media and to give opportunities for new voices to gain momentum,” said Laura Chernikoff, Executive Director of the Internet Creators Guild. “Otherwise, deep-pocketed media giants who can afford privileged, fast lane access to customers would empowered to drown out the dynamic and growing industry of internet creators.”

The letter also highlights support for net neutrality policies from an overwhelming majority of Americans, and comes just days in advance of a July 12th Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality. Over 50,000 people and thousands of websites have already joined the online protest, including web giants such as Amazon, Reddit, Netflix, OkCupid, Mozilla, Etsy, Kickstarter, Vimeo, and many others.

The signatories plan to leverage their online reach to encourage their audiences and the American to speak out for strong net neutrality protections. The letter states, “We’re in this for the long-haul. We will fight for as long as it takes to convince you and your colleagues to oppose any legislation or regulatory changes that would threaten real, enforceable Title II net neutrality.”

Laura Chernikoff, Executive Director of the Internet Creators Guild, said: “Online creators and the American public have made their position loud and clear: we need real, enforceable net neutrality rules rooted in Title II of the Communications Act. This is the only way to ensure each of us can continue to live in a country where Internet users have an equal shot at reaching people and earning a living on the open web.”

Hank Green, Internet Creators Guild Advisor and creator of Vlogbrothers, SciShow, and CrashCourse said, “So many individuals and corporations have been given such tremendous economic opportunities thanks to a neutral internet. I am one of them, and it hurts to think the opportunities I’ve had might be denied to other people.”

This action is part of the Internet Creators Guild’s efforts to advocate for and support creators. The non-profit organization was created in order to bring internet creators together to make their profession more sustainable.

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CONTACT INFORMATION:
Laura Chernikoff
Executive Director, Internet Creators Guild
+1-303-819-873
laura@internetcreatorsguild.com

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Net Neutrality Day of Action July 12 May Be the Largest Online Protest in Years: Wordpress, Bandcamp among latest to join

Posted 13:46 EDT on July 5, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, July 5, 2017
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

Thousands of websites plan massive online protest for July 12th. Other participants include Amazon, Reddit, Netflix, OK Cupid, Mozilla, Etsy, Kickstarter, Vimeo, and PornHub

Urban Dictionary, Bandcamp, Automattic (who run WordPress) and Discord are among latest major web platforms to join the Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality scheduled for July 12th to oppose the FCC’s plan to slash Title II, the legal foundation for net neutrality rules that protect online free speech and innovation. Twitter, Reddit, Netflix, Amazon, Kickstarter, Etsy, Vimeo, Private Internet Access, Mozilla, OK Cupid, Imgur, PornHub, Medium, and dozens of other major sites are also participating.

More than 50,000 people, sites, and organizations have signed on to the effort overall, and more announcements from major companies are expected in the coming days. Participants will display prominent messages on their homepages on July 12 or encourage users to take action in other ways, using push notifications, videos, social media, and emails.

See the announcement for the day of action here: https://battleforthenet.com/july12  

See examples of what sites are doing on July 12 here: https://www.battleforthenet.com/july12#join

The effort is led by many of the grassroots groups behind the largest online protests in history including the SOPA blackout and the Internet Slowdown. The day of action will focus on grassroots mobilization, with public interest groups activating their members and major web platforms providing their visitors with tools to contact Congress and the FCC.

Other sites and apps participating include Soundcloud, Medium, Y Combinator, GitHub, Pantheon, Bittorrent Inc., Shapeways, Nextdoor, Stack Overflow, Funny Or Die, Dreamhost, and CREDO Mobile, Goldenfrog, Fark, Chess.com, Namecheap, DuckDuckGo, Checkout.com, Sonic, Ting, ProtonMail, O’Reilly Media, SlashDot, Dribble, Dischord, SourceForge, and Union Square Ventures. Organizations participating include Fight for the Future, Free Press Action Fund, Demand Progress, Center for Media Justice, EFF,  Internet Association, Internet Archive, World Wide Web Foundation, Creative Commons, National Hispanic Media Coalition, Greenpeace, Common Cause, ACLU, Rock the Vote, American Library Association, Daily Kos, OpenMedia, The Nation, PCCC, MoveOn, OFA, Public Knowledge, OTI, Color of Change, MoveOn, Free Software Foundation, Internet Creators Guild, the Women’s March, and many others.

Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, said: “The Internet has given more people a voice than ever before, and we’re not going to let the FCC take that power away from us. Massive online mobilization got us the strong net neutrality protections that we have now, and we intend to fight tooth and nail to defend them. Politicians in Washington, DC need to learn that net neutrality is not a partisan issue and Internet users will not tolerate these attacks on our basic rights – we will come together to protect the web as an open platform for free expression and exchange of ideas.”

Michal Rosenn, General Counsel at Kickstarter, said: “A threat to net neutrality is a threat to the free exchange of ideas that creative culture and an informed public rely upon. Kickstarter, and the tens of thousands of creators who have brought new ideas to life through our platform, all depend on a free and open internet. We’re proud to stand alongside so many others today to preserve net neutrality, and to protect the freedoms that make the internet such a powerful force.”

Malkia Cyril, executive director at the Center for Media Justice, said: “Communities of color across the United States depend on an open Internet to thrive. From resisting police violence to demanding fair wages – the political voice and economic opportunity that the Internet enables must remain protected by Title II net neutrality. Trump’s FCC seeks to wall these communities off from the power of the internet as a mobilizing tool and an equalizer. On July 12, we will stand together with activists, Internet users of color, advocacy groups, and tech companies to preserve democracy by defending our Internet.”

Michael Cheah, General Counsel, Vimeo, said: “Net neutrality made it possible for Vimeo, along with countless other startups, to innovate and thrive. The FCC’s proposed rollback of the 2015 open Internet rules threatens to impede that innovation and allow a handful of incumbent ISPs to determine winners and losers. On July 11th, Vimeo will proudly join our fellow tech brethren to rally Internet users nationwide to demand strong net neutrality rules to prevent ISPs from manipulating Internet traffic.”

Mark Stanley, communications director of Demand Progress, said: “The FCC’s plan to dismantle net neutrality will unfairly pad the bottom lines of Comcast and the rest of Big Cable, while undermining the public’s ability to freely communicate, organize, and innovate. Every few years, a threat so severe confronts the open internet that people, organizations, and companies from across the political spectrum—including some of the largest online platforms—must band together in common cause to fight back. The FCC’s ongoing effort to roll back net neutrality protections represents just such a threat — and on the July 12th day of action, we’ll once again use the transformative power of the internet to defend the internet itself.”

Sam Altman, President of Y Combinator, said: "At Y Combinator, the startup accelerator I run, we have proudly supported thousands of entrepreneurs and more than 1,400 businesses, including companies like AirBnB and Dropbox. Companies like these have gone on to change our lives for the better—how we work, how we eat, how we live. They could grow and compete, and ultimately consumers choose who wins and loses online. Without strong net neutrality rules, though, I’m concerned that the cable and wireless companies that control internet access will have outsized power to pick winners and losers in the market.”

Free Press Campaign Director Candace Clement said: “It’s like déjà vu. The last time Net Neutrality came before the FCC, internet users across the political spectrum swamped the agency with comments demanding strong Net Neutrality protections. The internet won’t go down quietly in 2017 and on July 12 people, companies, organizations and websites will let everyone know that the Trump FCC lacks a public mandate to take away our online rights. We will make it impossible for Chairman Pai to continue to cling to the sorts of alternative facts against Net Neutrality that we’ve proven to be wrong time and again.” 

Denelle Dixon, Mozilla’s Chief Legal and Business Officer, said: “Net neutrality is vital to a healthy Internet: it protects free speech, competition and innovation online. It’s also something a majority of Americans support — 76%, according to a recent Mozilla-Ipsos poll. By reverting to a Title I classification for ISPs, the FCC is endangering Americans’ access to a free and open web. The FCC is creating an Internet that benefits ISPs, not users.”

Zachary Rosen, CEO of Pantheon, said: “We started Pantheon to make it easier for organizations big and small to succeed on the Web. But if strong net neutrality rules under Title II go away, it’d put both us and our customers’ innovation at risk.”

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Fraudulent comments that undermine the FCC’s net neutrality comment process must be investigated

Posted 13:23 EDT on June 28, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, June 28, 2017
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

Fight for the Future praises letter from ranking member of House Energy & Commerce Oversight Committee calling for investigation into hundreds of thousands of fake anti-net neutrality comments

Ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Committee Frank Pallone Jr (D-NJ) sent a letter to the FBI and Department of Justice this morning calling for law enforcement agencies to investigate the flood of fraudulent anti-net neutrality comments that have been submitted into the FCC’s docket using real people’s names and addresses without their permission.

Fight for the Future, a leading digital rights group that has been helping Internet users investigate the fake comments through their Comcastroturf.com campaign, and who helped facilitate a letter to the FCC from dozens of individuals whose had their personal information used to submit comments without their consent, issued the following statement, which can be attributed to campaign director, Evan Greer (pronouns: she/her):

“The FCC under Ajit Pai’s leadership has repeatedly refused to meaningfully address the very serious issue of fake anti-net neutrality comments submitted into its docket using stolen names and addresses. It’s only right that lawmakers are now stepping in and calling for an investigation.

Regardless of their views on the FCC’s proceeding, every member of Congress should be concerned if their constituents’ identities are being stolen and used to submit comments to a Federal Agency without their permission, in ways that violate federal law and the privacy rights of the individuals affected.

The public needs to know who has been attempting to distort the record with these fraudulent comments, whether they were funded by the telecom companies that stand to benefit from the FCC’s attack on net neutrality protections, and whether leadership at the FCC knew about the operation and willfully decided to allow it to continue.

Federal Agencies have a responsibility to employ basic cybersecurity practices and act transparently to ensure that public comment proceedings have integrity and allow for meaningful input from the public. At this point, the FCC has clearly failed to maintain that integrity in this latest net neutrality proceeding. Members of Congress should work across the aisle to ensure that the agency addresses these serious cybersecurity issues before moving forward with an unpopular plan to dismantle consumer protections”

Fight for the Future is also one of the main organizations behind the massive July 12 Internet-Wide Day of Action for Net Neutrality, which has attracted a wide range of prominent supporters including Amazon, Netflix, Twitter, Kickstarter, Etsy, Mozilla, Reddit, Pornhub, Soundcloud, and Vimeo. The group has been a leading voice calling for transparency and investigations into cybersecurity issues as the FCC for several months, and has compiled significant evidence of what appears to be a sophisticated astroturfing organization that is attempting to create the false impression of grassroots opposition to net neutrality protections.  

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Fight for the Future is a digital rights group best known for organizing some of the largest online protests in history including the SOPA Blackout, Internet Slowdown, Reset the Net, and Rock Against the TPP. Learn more at https://www.fightforthefuture.org or follow us on Twitter @fightfortheftr

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FCC’s response to inquiries about alleged DDoS attack raises more questions than answers

Posted 17:13 EDT on June 26, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, June 26, 2017
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

Why wasn’t the agency using basic protection that could have prevented alleged cyber attacks that silenced pro-net neutrality voices?

The FCC has responded to a letter from Senators Wyden and Schatz requesting more information about an alleged DDoS attack that took down the agency’s comment system immediately following John Oliver’s viral segment about net neutrality, during a time when large numbers of concerned citizens were attempting to register their support for Title II.

The FCC’s response, however, raises more questions than answers. The agency’s explanation of the attack makes it seem as if they have not yet identified or taken steps to address the bottlenecks or flaws in their architecture to prevent their system from collapsing at another critical moment. It’s the responsibility of anyone running an important site like the FCC’s electronic comment filing system to employ basic cybersecurity practices that prevent abuse and outages, including the ability to block malicious traffic by IP address, and simple scaling strategies, like caching slow database queries. The agency also claims the attacks came from “cloud providers.” If this is the case, cloud providers keep records of the exact resources used by each account for billing purposes. Why hasn’t the FCC employed legal means to identify who allegedly attacked their systems? And why haven’t they used the same legal means to attempt to identify the attacker that is submitting hundreds of thousands of fraudulent comments using stolen identities, in violation of federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1001)?

The bottom line is that the FCC failed to take basic steps to prevent these alleged DDoS attacks – as well as the widely reported flood of fake anti-net neutrality comments, have refused to release information that would assist in an investigation into who is behind them, and have failed to take steps to prevents something like this from happening again.

“Ajit Pai and the FCC are blatantly trying to sweep this under the rug, so I’m not surprised that they issued their response on a Friday afternoon, hoping that it would go unnoticed,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, “But the fact remains that large numbers of people were prevented from voicing their legitimate concerns about the agency’s plan to dismantle net neutrality protections, while at the same time they have refused to do anything about the massive number of fake anti-net neutrality comments that have been submitted using stolen names and addresses. The agency must address these serious issues before moving forward, or it is making it clear that it has lost all legitimacy and is simply working on behalf of the very companies that it is supposed to be protecting consumers from.”

Members of Congress also responded to Ajit Pai’s letter with additional questions for the agency. See their response here.

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