Fight for the Future


PRESS RELEASE: Net neutrality activists "Occupy the FCC"

Posted 09:44 EDT on May 13, 2014

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 13, 2014

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Email: press@fightforthefuture.org
Margaret Flowers - 410-591-0892
Kevin Zeese: 301-996-6582
Kevin Huang: 510-648-5048
Evan Greer: 978-852-6457

“Occupy the FCC” encampment gathers support from tech companies and advocacy groups as net neutrality protesters surround FCC headquarters with tents and banners

Unsatisfied with backpedaling and empty promises from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, activists are camped out day and night on the agency’s doorstep demanding the Internet be reclassified as a common carrier

WASHINGTON, DC – This morning, and every morning since last Wednesday, FCC employees were greeted on their way in to work by a dedicated group of net neutrality activists who are camped out on the agency’s doorstep with tents, signs, and a giant banner reading, “Don’t Break the Internet!” Many FCC employees have expressed their support to the demonstrators, who have distributed hundreds of flyers to people entering FCC headquarters.

TIME Magazine reports: “The FCC’s eighth floor executive office has been thrown into chaos amid a mounting backlash that shut down its phone lines as a growing number of Open Internet advocates camp out in front of their office.”

Click here for latest updates: http://OccupyTheFCC.com

Click here for a gallery of photos http://imgur.com/a/03l6g

The encampment was sparked last week by activists from Fight for the Future and PopularResistance.org and is growing steadily, gaining support today from major tech companies including CREDO Mobile and reddit as well as advocacy groups Demand Progress, MoveOn.org, OpenMedia, and Free Press.

Organizers at Occupy the FCC promise escalation of their protests and have several events planned this week including a concert and open mic Tuesday night and an art-making party on Wednesday night. The week-long protest will culminate during a rally on May 15th organized by a diverse range of organizations. The protest comes after a month of intense online action during which millions of people emailed, called, or signed petitions to the FCC demanding that protect net neutrality.

“We’re here at the FCC night and day because the future of the Internet is being decided in this building – and the open web is too important to our democracy for us to remain silent,” said Kevin Huang of Fight for the Future, “We won’t be fooled by Tom Wheeler’s empty promises. There is only one clear path forward for for real net neutrality: the FCC must reclassify the Internet as a common carrier under Title II of the Communications Act. Anything less is just ‘net neutrality’ in air quotes.”

“Camping out here on FCC’s doorstep, it is so clear that the influence that corporate lobbyists have had over this building is starting to crumble,” said Margaret Flowers of PopularResistance.org, who has been camped out at the FCC since May 7th. “We have had many FCC employees stop by our camp to express their support, and more people and tents are showing up every day from all over the country. If Tom Wheeler sticks with his buddies at AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast, he will soon find out that they are the only friends he has. If Wheeler is unable to put the public interest before his colleagues in industry maybe it is time for Wheeler to resign.”

“The public outcry over Tom Wheeler’s proposal to allow for discrimination on the Internet has become impossible to ignore” said Becky Bond, Political Director of CREDO Mobile, “More and more, people depend on the Internet to meet their basic needs. The FCC needs to treat the web as what it is: a public utility that should be protected in the public interest.”
Here are some photos of the encampment. Click here for more.

imageThe first tent goes up at Occupy the FCC

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Each day protesters form a “human firewall” to protect the Internet from the FCC’s bad proposal.

imageFCC Commissioner Ajit Pai comes out to meet with the demonstrators.

imageNo one wants a slower Internet. Protest sign from Occupy the FCC

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25+ tech companies send letter to Senator Ron Wyden asking him to oppose any form of Fast Track for the TPP

Posted 12:58 EDT on March 20, 2014

More than 25 leading tech companies and start-ups have joined a public letter urging Senator Ron Wyden, the newly appointed Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, to firmly oppose any form of “fast track” authority for trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and to demand transparency and an opportunity for public participation in negotiations that affect Internet freedom, free speech, and the tech economy.

Click here to see the full letter signed by more than 25 tech companies.

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The signatories include well known tech companies like reddit, Automattic (WordPress.com), Imgur, DuckDuckGo, CREDO Mobile, BoingBoing, Thoughtworks, Namecheap, Fark, iFixit, and Cheezburger. Collectively, these companies represent the interests of millions of users in the United States and around the world. In the letter, the companies outline how the technology industry, from entrepreneurs and engineers all the way to consumers, could be harmed by “fast tracked” trade agreements that contain unbalanced copyright and innovation policy frameworks.

“These highly secretive, supranational agreements are reported to include provisions that vastly expand on any reasonable definition of ‘trade,’ including provisions that impact patents, copyright, and privacy in ways that constrain legitimate online activity and innovation,” the companies write. The letter continues: “Our industry, and the users that we serve, need to be at the table from the beginning,” which has not been the case with TPP negotiations.

Meanwhile, in Portland, OR…

The delivery of the letter coincided with an event outside Senator Wyden’s office in Portland, OR, where Fight for the Future and a coalition of advocacy groups delivered more than 13,686 signatures to the Senator also asking him to oppose any form of Fast Track authority.  During the action they urged him to oppose the renewal of 1970s-era trade legislation, which they say threatens Oregon high-tech jobs, digital privacy and freedom on the Internet. The signatures will be adhered to hundreds of floppy disks with the message “Fast Track is obsolete technology.”

Click here to see photos and a press release about the “Floppy Disk” petition delivery.

The letter was coordinated with the assistance of the public interest organizations Electronic Frontier Foundation and Fight for the Future. Contact information for those organizations is provided above.

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Full text of the letter and list of signers:

Dear Senator Ron Wyden,

Congratulations on your recent appointment as Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. As technology companies with business models inextricably linked to the Internet, we admire your work as a staunch defender of users and online rights—most prominently when you led the fight against SOPA and PIPA in Congress.

Today we write about another emerging front in the battle to defend the free Internet—massive trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. These highly secretive, supranational agreements are reported to include provisions that vastly expand on any reasonable definition of “trade,” including provisions that impact patents, copyright, and privacy in ways that constrain legitimate online activity and innovation. We applaud your prior efforts as Senator to bring transparency and public participation to trade negotiations. We strongly urge you to uphold and expand this dedication into your new role.

None of the usual justifications for trade negotiation exclusivity apply to recent agreements like the TPP. Even assuming that it is legitimate to shield the discussions of certain trade barriers—like import tariffs—from political interference, the provisions in these new trade agreements go far beyond such traditional trade issues.

Based on what we’ve seen in leaked copies of the proposed text, we are particularly concerned about the U.S. Trade Representative’s proposals around copyright enforcement. Dozens of digital rights organizations and tens of thousands of individuals have raised alarm over provisions that would bind treaty signatories to inflexible digital regulations that undermine free speech. Based on the fate of recent similar measures, it is virtually certain that such proposals would face serious scrutiny if proposed at the domestic level or via a more transparent process. Anticipated elements such as harsher criminal penalties for minor, non-commercial copyright infringements, a ‘take-down and ask questions later’ approach to pages and content alleged to breach copyright, and the possibility of Internet providers having to disclose personal information to authorities without safeguards for privacy will chill innovation and significantly restrict users’ freedoms online.

Some aspects of U.S. copyright law, such as the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions, have helped foster the vibrant tech industry in this country. But in other areas, we are due for major reforms—a fact made clear by Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante’s call for the "Next Great Copyright Act” and the House Judiciary Committee’s efforts to implement that reform. In light of these needed revisions, the U.S. system cannot be crystallized as the international norm and should not be imposed on other nations. It is crucial that we maintain the flexibility to re-evaluate and reform our legal framework in response to new technological realities. Ceding national sovereignty over critical issues like copyright is not in the best interest of any of the potential signatories of this treaty.

We can only build a successful innovation policy framework—one that supports new ideas, products, and markets—if the process to design it is open and participatory. Unfortunately, the trade negotiation process has been anything but transparent. Our industry, and the users that we serve, need to be at the table from the beginning to design policies that serve more than the narrow commercial interests of the few large corporations who have been invited to participate.

We urge you not to pass any version of Fast Track or trade promotion authority, or approve any mechanism that would facilitate the passage of trade agreements containing digital copyright enforcement provisions designed in an opaque, closed-door process.

As the new Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, you are in a position to shape U.S. policy to keep this country a place where innovation thrives. We look forward to your continued dedication to the interests of technology and its users.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

Amara
Amicus
Automattic Inc. (WordPress.com)
BoingBoing
Cheezburger
CREDO Mobile
Data Foundry
Disconnect.Me
DuckDuckGo
Fark
Goldenfrog
GSM Nation
iFixit
Imgur
LawGives
Miro
Namecheap
Nimblebot
Private Internet Access
Piwik
reddit
Rhiza
Rootwork.org
Saunter
Singlebrook Technologies
Techdirt
Thoughtworks
Thunderclap
XOXO

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June 5th, 2014: we will Reset the Net

Posted 10:28 EDT on March 13, 2014

Dear Fight for the Future member,

On Monday, Edward Snowden spoke to a crowd of thousands at SXSW, and it seriously felt like he was reading our minds.

“The NSA is setting fire to the future of the internet,” Snowden said, “and you guys are the firefighters.” He went on to issue a call to arms for the tech community, saying that “encryption works” as proven by the fact that the U.S. government still has no idea what documents he has provided to journalists (1).

We’ve been waiting for the right moment to tell you, and we can’t wait any longer. We have a plan to stamp out the NSA’s fire once and for all: on June 5th, 2014 – the anniversary of the first Snowden NSA story – we will Reset the Net, and take our privacy back.

It sounds impossible, but it’s not. Click here to watch the video and find out how we’re going to Reset the Net.

Just yesterday we learned in a shocking NY Times story that the FISA court had secretly approved widespread sharing of raw private data across the government (2). It’s a long article, and you should read it, but here’s the TL;DR: thanks to so-called “Fusion Centers” and secret laws, the local cops in your town have at their fingertips everything about you that the NSA has collected over the past 5 years. Without a warrant.

It gets worse. This morning we learned that the NSA is using automation to hack and gain control of  ‘millions’ of computers (3).

Governments have abused the Internet and twisted into something it was never intended to be. They’ve stolen our most private moments, and with them our most basic freedoms to communicate and be ourselves.

We can’t afford to wait while politicians debate. We have the power to fight mass surveillance right now. Are you in? Click here to help Reset the Net.

Everyone has been waiting for some resounding action that meets the problem of government spying head on. This is our moment to rally and realize our power. We don’t need anyone’s permission, but we need everyone’s participation. If you’re a developer, designer, or cryptographer and want to help, please reply to this email and get in touch.

More soon,
-Evan and Tiffiniy
Fight for the Future

SOURCES:
1) PC Magazine,
“6 things Edward Snowden revealed at SXSW”
2) New York Times, How a Court Secretly Evolved, Extending U.S. Spies’ Reach
3) The Intercept, How the NSA plans to Infect ‘Millions’ of Computers with Malware


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