Fight for the Future


PRESS RELEASE: Net neutrality supporters launch 535 websites to get Congress on the record

Posted 13:05 EST on January 14, 2015

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For Immediate Release
January 14th, 2015

Media contact:
Evan Greer, Fight for the Future
Phone: 978-852-6457
Email: press@fightforthefuture.org

Net Neutrality Supporters Launch 535 Websites to Get Congress on the Record   

BattlefortheNet.com plans to light up phones on Capitol Hill to show widespread support for real open Internet protections

WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, Net Neutrality advocates launched 535 websites, one for each member of Congress, to identify where the officials stand on the open Internet and generate calls in favor of protections.

By visiting BattlefortheNet.com/scoreboard users can locate their members’ websites and then contact their senators and representatives to urge support for Net Neutrality.

Each website notes whether that member of Congress is on “Team Internet” (a Net Neutrality supporter), “Team Cable” (a Net Neutrality opponent), or “unknown” (yet to make a statement for or against open Internet rules).

Demand Progress, Fight for the Future and the Free Press Action Fund launched this effort on the anniversary of the federal appeals court decision that struck down the FCC’s Open Internet Order and left Internet users without any protections against online discrimination and blocking.

After a year of public comments, advocacy and activism, the FCC is expected to issue a new Net Neutrality rule that will reclassify broadband Internet access as a Title II service under the Communications Act.

Protecting the rights of Internet users has become a leading political issue in recent years. As a new Congress gets to work in 2015, several members have proposed legislation to address Net Neutrality, but Congress already wrote the law that would protect Internet users.  

The FCC appears ready to restore for broadband the basic consumer protections Congress originally enacted for all two-way communications services. According to organizers of BattlefortheNet.com, members of Congress should not interfere with or delay the process unless they are willing to support the FCC’s efforts to preserve these fundamental protections.

“It’s time for members of Congress to either get on the right side of the Net Neutrality issue or get out of the way,” said Free Press Action Fund President and CEO Craig Aaron. “Millions of Americans have spoken out and the FCC is poised to give us the real Net Neutrality rules we need. Congress has already put in place the bipartisan legal framework that would make this a reality. The FCC now just needs to act by reclassifying Internet access under Title II.”

“Too often in Washington, well-heeled lobbyists get their way simply because the rules are too arcane for the average person, or even a member of Congress, to follow. Getting Internet policy right is too important to everyone. We can’t let the Internet’s future be decided by the highest bidder,” said Demand Progress Executive Director David Segal.

“Members of Congress should expect to hear from tens of thousands of constituents in the coming days as Internet users rise up once again in support of strong Net Neutrality rules,” said Fight for the Future Campaign Director Evan Greer. “Brace yourself, Congress. The Internet is coming.”

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Put your frustration to good use

Posted 17:02 EST on January 6, 2015

Dear Fight for the Future member,

You’re going to like this. We just built a new tool in the fight for net neutrality. Check it out!

Have you ever had a super frustrating situation with your Cable company – over your bill, their crappy service, slow connection, or whatever–and gotten upset with the customer service representative on the phone?

Hey, we’ve all been there. But the reality is those underpaid call center employees aren’t the ones to blame for your Cable bill catastrophe or that slow loading pinwheel on the video you want to stream.

Comcast’s top executives and lobbyists are laughing all the way to the bank while they make your Internet slow and keep your Cable bill sky high. Worse, they’re spreading blatant lies about net neutrality and throwing around millions of dollars in campaign contributions to buy off Congress and protect their monopoly power.

These are the people who are to blame. And we found their phone numbers and email addresses. Click here to put all your frustration to good use and tell Comcast to stop lying.

Comcast has millions to spend on lobbying and and they can blanket Washington, DC in misleading ads. The public has a right to call and demand that they stop their campaign of deceit – and every minute that Comcast’s lobbyists spend on the phone with you is a minute they’re not spending trying to kill net neutrality.

Think about it. Now click here to call a Comcast lobbyist!

Thanks team! More soon.
-Jeff at Fight for the Future


P.S. Comcast’s buddies in Congress are trying to pass a shady law called “Title X.” Click here to sign our urgent petition to stop them.

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Failure is not an option

Posted 13:45 EST on December 30, 2014

Dear Fight for the Future member,

Look, you don’t have time to read a long email, and I don’t have time to write one so I’ll get right to the point: we are just $20,000 short of our year-end fundraising goal, and there’s still 48 hours left. Can you help us close the gap so we don’t have to scale back our campaigns in the New Year?

Please click here help us keep winning in 2015.

2014 was an amazing year for Fight for the Future. Thank you so much for being part of our growing movement to defend free speech in the digital age. We’ve accomplished more together than any of the pundits or lobbyists thought was possible at this time last year and we should all be proud!

2015 will be critical year in the battle over the future of the Internet. We’re doing the math right now and we know if we start off the New Year low on funds, we’re going to have to make tough choices about what to work on. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, the revival of CISPA, net neutrality, the MPAA’s latest attempt at SOPA, our ongoing work to end mass surveillance. Every single one of these campaigns is essential to the future of the web. Failure is not an option. That’s why we’re asking for your help again.

There’s still time! Please chip in to help us meet our goal and hit the ground running in the new year.

I know we can do this. Whether you can afford to chip in $3 or $3,000, we will make every penny of your donation count. We are a tiny team. We all work from home on our laptops. We don’t have a big fancy office or any real overhead. We use every dollar that comes our way to fight as hard as we can to keep the Internet free and open. So many of you have given generously already and we thank you. If you can afford to chip in a few dollars more, it will really make a difference. If you can’t give this year, we totally understand. Thank you for being part of the team.

Last chance. If you can, please click here to donate to support our work.

Happy new year! Celebrate hard and stay safe!

For the net,
-Holmes, Tiffiniy, Evan, Kevin, Jessica, Vasjen, and Jeff
Your Fight for the Future team

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The only CIA officer in jail for the torture program is the whistleblower who exposed it

Posted 14:08 EST on December 18, 2014

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Dear Fight for the Future member,

“Rectal feeding.” Wrongfully detained prisoners forced to stand on broken legs. Deaths from hypothermia. People missing. By now you’ve surely read the gruesome details from the CIA Torture Report. [1] Incredibly, the only person who is in jail as a result of this illegal program (and coverup) is … the whistleblower who exposed it. [2]

Sign the petition to pardon John Kiriakou, the CIA agent that exposed the torture program.

As a CIA agent, John Kiriakou was ordered to commit inhumane acts of torture, but he refused. [3] He did what all of us would like to think we would do in that situation. Now the government is punishing him for doing the right thing.

In times like these, it’s critical we all stand up and hold our government accountable. We can start by gaining freedom for the person who helped shed light on these crimes. Then we can begin prosecuting the real perpetrators: the politicians who authorized this torture, and the CIA officials who hid it from the Senate and the public.

Click here to sign the petition to free John Kiriakou, the CIA torture report whistle blower.

Anytime the government cracks down on whistleblowers and those who tell the truth, all of our rights are undermined. Let’s stand up for John and stand up for the things we can all believe in: transparency and justice.

Sincerely,
-Tiffiniy, Holmes, Kevin, Evan, and Jeff at FFTF

P.S. Here’s the link in plain text, please forward this to all your friends and tweet using #PardonJohn: https://cms.fightforthefuture.org/pardonjohn  

SOURCES:
[1] Greg Miller, Adam Goldman and Julie Tate. “Senate report on CIA program details brutality, dishonesty”. Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/senate-report-on-cia-program-details-brutality-dishonesty/2014/12/09/1075c726-7f0e-11e4-9f38-95a187e4c1f7_story.html

[2] Russel Brandom. “The man who did the most to fight CIA torture is still in prison“. The Verge. http://www.theverge.com/2014/12/9/7362757/the-man-who-fought-cia-torture-is-still-in-prison-john-kiriakou

[3] Sam Levine. “The One Man Jailed For CIA Torture Tried To Expose It”. Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/10/cia-torture-prosecution_n_6298646.html

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Why is Sunlight Foundation playing into American Commitment’s scam?

Posted 18:26 EST on December 17, 2014

The Sunlight Foundation today published a post defending their claim that anti-net neutrality activists “dominated” the second round of the FCC’s Open Internet proceeding, based on data released by the FCC. However, numerous problems with the data and their methodology make it impossible to support their conclusions.

There were three huge problems.

First, we know the data Sunlight used excluded many of our comments. Today we confirmed with the FCC that at least 244,000 pro-net neutrality comments were not processed correctly due to an error on their end, and were missing from the data they released to Sunlight. This alone is enough to tip the scales in favor of net neutrality activists, if going purely by the numbers, and it could be much higher. [1]

Second, the Sunlight Foundation knew it was missing over 800,000 comments, and they didn’t try to figure out if the data they analysed was a representative sample. The group that “dominated” the second round of comments (in Sunlight’s words) could have simply been the one organization that–due to the technique it used for submitting–didn’t get all its submissions garbled. In fact, it looks like that’s what happened. American Commitment’s own reported numbers are actually a little lower than their total in Sunlight’s report (probably due to a final burst of paid advertising before the deadline). Pro-net neutrality comments got lost. Anti-net neutrality comments didn’t. The sample wasn’t representative of the whole.

The third problem in Sunlight’s report is their methodology, as they themselves describe it. Sunlight has publicly acknowledged a huge difference in how they counted some comments from pro-net neutrality groups like Free Press versus comments from American Commitment, the one (shady) anti-net neutrality group.

All groups were effectively collecting signatures on a letter. American Commitment submitted them as a barrage of identical comments, while groups like Free Press submitted them as signatures on a single letter. The FCC says it recognizes and counts both. But Sunlight Foundation admits they chose to treat them differently, excluding multiple signatures on a single letter from the count.

We can’t see any basis for this, other than convenience. In both cases, an individual member of the American public is taking a moment to say “Hey FCC: I agree with the following statement.” It just happens that two groups submitted that sentiment in different ways. It would be one thing if the FCC treated such comments differently, but they don’t! The FCC has said signatures count the same as individual comments.

Sunlight expresses it in neutral tones, saying “This isn’t to suggest that signature-only submissions shouldn’t be counted, but the focus of our report meant that we discarded them.” The thing is, that’s an arbitrary choice, at odds with both the intent of the people who commented and the FCC’s own criteria. And it has a huge impact on the results!

By making this choice, Sunlight knows they are excluding many pro-net neutrality comments while including *every* anti-net neutrality comment from American Commitment. In other words, they know their sample is skewed.

Finally, we’re bothered by how Sunlight handled the correction. Our CTO was up all night with the FCC data they used, comparing it to ours, and found some serious issues. We told them this. We urged them to work with us today to figure out what went wrong.

Instead, they worked on a response in silence, simply justifying their work without examining their exclusion of signatures. This would be bad even if American Commitment wasn’t engaged in a cynical attempt to manipulate the public conversation around an extremely important issue. But they are. Read about it. Sunlight knows this context, but instead of approaching the data carefully and working with others to get the answer right, they’re playing right into the scam.

The headline of their first post was (and remains at the time of writing) “One group dominates the second round of net neutrality comments.” If you arbitrarily ignore a subset of commenters (the signers) and base your conclusions on data everyone agrees is incomplete and broken, that’s true. The problem is, their provocative headline doesn’t include that disclaimer.

We still hope Sunlight will do the right thing, acknowledge the mistakes they and the FCC made and correct the record. That headline is the first thing they should fix.


[1] A note on duplicates: Sunlight writes that, of the limited number of comments from Battle for the Net that actually made it into the FCC’s data, many were duplicates and thus excluded from the study. We verified that we sent at least 526,657 unique CSV comments to the FCC by examining reference numbers we attached to them. Today the FCC acknowledged that there were technical problems with their ability to process the CSVs, and they are missing at least 244,000 pro-net neutrality comments from Battle for the Net. If the comments that actually made it into Sunlight’s data were duplicates of one another, then the number of comments the FCC lost or garbled in its release is even greater than the 244,000 confirmed so far.

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