Fight for the Future

Giveaway! Win a free Blackphone and protect yourself from dragnet surveillance.

Posted 12:24 EDT on August 18, 2014

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hey Fight for the Future friends and fans,

Here’s a little something new we’ve never tried before: a contest!

Our friends over at GSM Nation have been big supporters of our work for net neutrality, online privacy, and against Internet censorship, so we were stoked when they told us they were going to start carrying the Blackphone, a new android phone that was built with privacy in mind and comes bundled with trusted, easy to use encryption tools.


To help kick things off, we’re partnering with GSM Nation and mobile tech gurus Pocketnow to give away a brand new Blackphone as part of a free contest for our supporters!

All you have to do to enter is follow the three organizations on social media (you could always unfollow us after if you want, we won’t be offended! But then you’d miss out crucial info about keeping the Internet free and tips & tricks for guarding your privacy.) Also if you win, don’t worry, we’ll protect your privacy and only announce your name if you want us to.

So what’s the deal with the Blackphone? Well, here’s a few links to get you started:

Here at Fight for the Future we encourage everyone to take as many steps as possible to protect themselves from dragnet surveillance. We think everyone should be able to access the Internet, communicate, and express themselves without fear of government snooping or repression. We don’t often recommend specific products that people should or shouldn’t use – we think everyone should do their research, be skeptical, and be informed about their various options.

The Blackphone is not a perfect solution for 100% privacy (there may be no such thing for the vast majority of people) but it’s a huge leap forward for most of us, and provides meaningful protection from many types of mass government and corporate surveillance. So is this phone NSA-proof? Nah probably not. But if someone wants your data, this phone will make them work for it.

Here’s what I like about the Blackphone: it basically forces you to take steps to protect yourself, which is more important than you might think. I am probably the least technical member of the Fight for the Future team. When I joined the organization i could barely write a line of HTML, my role is as an activist. For me, anything that makes it easy and quick for me to protect my online privacy is huge.

GSM Nation sent me a Blackphone to try out, and the first thing it does when you turn it on is require you to set a PIN. I noted that it requires that pin to be at least 5 digits, i think all of my previous phones only allowed 4.

Then the phone prompts you to enable whole phone encryption. You can do this on other Android phones, but so many people like me would never think of it or get around to it or figure out how to do it. On the Blackphone, you press a button, plug in your phone and there you go. For someone like me, that’s critical. I would probably never encrypt my phone otherwise.


The Blackphone comes with apps that I was happy to see like SpiderOak (an alternative to Dropbox that uses zero-knowledge privacy, meaning the company doesn’t know what you’re storing so they can’t turn anything over to anyone) and the text and phone apps from Silent Circle. The phone also comes with built in to allow for private browsing and blocking various trackers.

Again, like any privacy tool, the Blackphone has its limitations. If the NSA is looking directly at you they are probably going to be able to hack your phone. But they can’t hack everyone. Mass surveillance on the scale they’re conducting now is only possible because we leave ourselves so open to spying. There is safety in numbers. The more of us that use basic encryption tools like the ones Blackphone comes with, the safer we all are and the harder it is for governments to track, profile, and monitor innocent people, activists, and journalists. Don’t leave your personal life wide open, #GetSecure now.

Click here to go back to the top of this post and enter the contest to win a Blackphone!



Contest Legal details

  • Contest begins Monday, August 18, 2014 and runs through 12am EDT (4am GMT) Thursday, August 28, 2014. That’s midnight between Wednesday and Thursday, not Thursday and Friday, so don’t come complaining if you missed your chance to enter.

  • This is a global giveaway, open to anyone, anywhere.

  • Prize is one (1) Blackphone, SRP $629.

  • In order to be considered for entry, you’re going to need to follow Pocketnow, GSM Nation, and Fight for the Future on Twitter. You must abide by the rules spelled-out in the Rafflecopter widget to be eligible.

  • One (1) grand-prize winner will be selected from Rafflecopter’s randomized pool of entrants.

  • The winner will be announced next week, shortly after entries close. This post will be updated at that time to identify the winning entry.

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Press Release: Fight for the Future delivers 135,000 signatures to Facebook demanding an end to abusive privacy practices

Posted 10:18 EDT on August 15, 2014


Fight for the Future Director of Code Activism Jeff Lyon hand delivering the signatures to Facebook. More than 135,000 people demanded that Facebook opt them out of their new tracking system.  (This photo is available for use by press.)

August 15, 2014

Evan Greer: 978-852-6457
Kevin Huang: 510-648-5048

More than 135,000 Internet users call on Facebook to end intrusive tracking, data collection, and psychological experiments that violate users’ basic rights

MENLO PARK, CA – Just one week after media reports that Facebook is facing a class action lawsuit that has already attracted more than 25,000 plaintiffs, activists from the digital rights group Fight for the Future showed up at Facebook’s corporate offices in California yesterday to hand deliver a box containing tens of thousands of petition signatures protesting the company’s abusive practices of tracking Internet users even when they are not on Facebook and conducting psychological experiments without consent.

More than 135,000 people demanded that Facebook remove them from the new tracking system, which was revealed in June. Fight for the Future called upon the company to heed their customer’s wishes and remove the signatories from the tracking system in question. The group also issued the following demands to Facebook in a cover letter included with the signatures:

We demand that Facebook:

  • End its intrusive tracking system that taps into the web activity of Internet users worldwide.

  • Inform the people affected by the psychological experiment that they were participants.

  • Refrain from conducting any similar studies and make it clear in the terms of service, data use policy, and privacy policy that these types of experiments are prohibited without informed consent.

  • Disclose if any other similar experiments have been or are being conducted.

“With everything we’ve learned in the past year about the ways those in power have been abusing the Internet to invade our privacy, it’s no wonder that Facebook users are speaking out in droves demanding more transparency and accountability from a company that holds such a massive amount of personal information,” said Evan Greer, of Fight for the Future. “The public has spoken, companies that ignore the growing cry for privacy should only expect user protests to intensify. We are heartened to hear that Facebook is facing a class action lawsuit for their practices – the signatures that we are delivering today should be seen as further evidence of this company’s lack of concern for its users basic rights.”

The petitions that Fight for the Future delivered were launched in June in response to news reports exposing the extent of Facebook’s abusive practices. The signatures are a rejection of Facebook’s ad network expansion of their tracking system to collect web history and app data from all Internet users inside and outside Facebook. In addition, the privacy advocates also point to the June public announcement of psychological experiments conducted on 700,000 Facebook users without their informed consent. Facebook’s experiments were also revealed by Forbes to have breached its own user agreement, which was only changed to include the right to conduct research experiments four months after they were completed.

This is not the first time Facebook has run into trouble for its expansive corporate surveillance.  In 2011, the FTC ruled against the company for deceiving its users about what data it was sharing with the public, third party applications, and advertisers.

“Everyone should have the ability to use the Internet to express themselves freely. It’s not only a human rights issue but it’s fundamental for democracy and freedom of press,” added Greer, “overly invasive corporate practices like Facebook’s tracking system undermine the privacy of the web, and have a chilling effect on free speech. Facebook needs to do the right thing and start listening to their users – and in the meantime anyone concerned with privacy should move away from centralized services and toward services that are built to respect users’ human rights”


Campaign Manager Kevin Huang with Jeff Lyon outside Facebook’s corporate headquarters with 135,000 petition signatures. (This photo is available for use by press.)


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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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