By Popular Resistance. Washington, DC – Today marks the first public hearing by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the directorship of Chairman Ajit Pai, who was appointed by the Trump administration. A coalition of organizations that fought to win net neutrality through reclassification as a common carrier gathered outside the FCC beforehand to deliver 200,000 ‘love letters’ to the chair calling for the protection of net neutrality. They also brought large valentines. 32690768260_a61db7d763_zUpon their approach to the FCC door, the net neutrality protectors were met by the aggressive and angry head of FCC security backed up by several Department of Homeland Security SUVs filled with agents. The head of security demanded to see the contents of the red-wrapped boxes carrying the petitions and instructed the group to take their valentines off the premises. The net neutrality protectors complied after delivering the petitions and moved to an adjacent open grassy area.
By Marguerite Reardon for CNET. Pai often goes out of his way to be nice. He’s the kind of person who remembers co-workers’ birthdays or your kids’ first names. It doesn’t matter if you’re a congressman from California or the parking attendant at the lot near the FCC’s headquarters, Pai offers a folksy and sincere greeting to all. He always has a kind word for colleagues, even when they stand on the opposite side of the aisles. “He made the chairman’s life miserable,” said Gigi Sohn, a former adviser to the previous head, Tom Wheeler, in reference to their constant ideological clashes. “But I like him. Everyone likes him.” This nice guy is no pushover, though. The 44-year-old chairman has already introduced a number of programs and steered the FCC in a different direction from his predecessor. And he’s still gearing up for his biggest move: the takedown of many of the regulations that protect net neutrality, the concept that all internet traffic must be treated as equal.
By Devin Coldewey for Tech Crunch. The imagination is a powerful thing, and what it creates may in fact be powerful beyond our imagining. That was certainly the case with Sir Tim Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web, the creation of which is documented in a new short film, “Foreveryone.net,” which was directed by Jessica Yu and is currently showing at the Seattle International Film Festival. I sat down ahead of the film’s debut with Yu and Berners-Lee, who, in his inimitable manner, held forth on topics from encryption and social media to the need to, as he called it, “re-decentralize the web.” The film traces the story of the web from its prehistory as a twinkle in Berners-Lee’s eye to the various dangers it faces today: surveillance, the loss of net neutrality and an excess of commercialization and centralization.
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Flush The TPP. President Obama will make his push for the ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) a major part of the State of the Union as this is a major goal of his final year in office. This is an opportunity for a widespread discussion of the TPP and what impacts it will have on the economy, workers, the environment and more. Just yesterday the World Bank published a comprehensive analysis of the TPP and concluded that by 2030 the TPP will have a miniscule 0.4% impact on US trade. The economic impact for the United States is minimal but the impact on workers, the environment, food safety, traditional energy and the overall balance between corporate power and government is dramatic. The president’s claims about the TPP should be examined closely and measured against the facts of what the TPP will actually do and the impact similar trade agreements have had. We know from past comments by the president and the US Trade Representative that their sales pitch for the TPP is not always consistent with the facts.
By Jennifer Granick for Just Security – Today, the dream of Internet Freedom that brought me to my first Def Con is dying. The dream is dying because, for better or for worse, we’ve prioritized things like security, online civility, user interface, and intellectual property interests above freedom and openness. As a result, the Internet is less open and more centralized. It’s more regulated. And increasingly it’s less global, and more divided. These trends: centralization, regulation, and globalization are accelerating. And they will define the future of our communications network, unless something dramatic changes. Let’s take a quick look at just a few of the things likely to happen if these trends continue.
By Staff for Fight For The Future – Senate leadership had intended to move CISA to a cloture vote yesterday afternoon, but failed to strike a deal as more and more members raised concerns with the bill in the wake of two weeks of intense grassroots action that flooded Senate offices with more than 6.2 million faxes in addition to tens of thousands of emails, phone calls, and tweets. Most of the action came through FaxBigBrother.com a viral web page launched by Fight for the Future with a broad coalition of privacy and civil liberties groups. Senate leadership had intended to move CISA to a cloture vote yesterday afternoon, but failed to strike a deal as more and more members raised concerns with the bill in the wake of two weeks of intense grassroots action that flooded Senate offices with more than 6.2 million faxes in addition to tens of thousands of emails, phone calls, and tweets. Most of the action came through FaxBigBrother.com a viral web page launched by Fight for the Future with a broad coalition of privacy and civil liberties groups. Senate leadership had intended to move CISA to a cloture vote yesterday afternoon, but failed to strike a deal as more and more members raised concerns with the bill in the wake of two weeks of intense grassroots action that flooded Senate offices with more than 6.2 million faxes in addition to tens of thousands of emails, phone calls, and tweets. Most of the action came through FaxBigBrother.com a viral web page launched by Fight for the Future with a broad coalition of privacy and civil liberties groups. “The delay is good news, but Internet users are outraged that Congress is even considering this dangerous and unpopular legislation, and even more outraged at the Web companies who stand to benefit financially from CISA’s sweeping legal immunity who have remained silent, putting all of their users’ privacy at risk,” said Evan Greer, Fight for the Future’s campaign director.
Sixty-five organizations from 31 countries and regions around the world released an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg detailing significant concerns about his plan to control what the next 3 billion Internet users do online through Facebook’s controversial Internet.org initiative. You can see our concerns outlined in the full PDF below. The letter was signed by tons of groups including our friends at Access, Bits of Freedom, EDRi, the Centre for Media Justice, Popular Resistance, and dozens more from around the world. The goal is to amplify the concerns of people in countries like India, Brazil, Zimbabwe, and Paraguay, who are outraged over Zuckerberg’s fake Internet, which blocks the websites, apps, and services the rest of the world loves from being available on equal terms. We’ve been hearing a lot of concern from our members and wanted to provide a place for them to speak out and for a hub to find background materials. At the end of the day, we all deserve access to the full, real, open Internet. Not just Zuckerberg’s fake imitation. So let’s stand together and make sure he knows there’s another path to take – Internet users around the world would rather he use his influence for good and promote access to the real open Internet that his poor imitation. And we hope the NoFakeInternet.org campaign can contribute to that end – but it only works if you speak out.
WASHINGTON — According to reports in the Wall Street Journal and Politico, Federal Communications Commission staff may be prepared to recommend that Comcast’s proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable be designated for a hearing. Such a move would put the merger request in the hands of an administrative law judge, who would conduct a thorough inquiry into the public-interest benefits of the proposed merger, if any. In formal legal terms a hearing designation merely means that the FCC cannot approve the proposed $45 billion merger at this time without first conducting such a hearing. In practical terms however, this type of preliminary decision generally spells the end for the deal because of the difficulty applicants face to make their case in such proceedings.
Today at the House Oversight and Government Reform Hearing, they are claiming that Popular Resistance was working with the White House in pressuring Tom Wheeler to enact rules in the public interest to protect the Internet. While we appreciate the attention, the reality is that Popular Resistance was part of a broad coalition of organizations and individuals who pushed for Title II and net neutrality rules. We played our role in protesting at key points throughout the process, helping to develop strategy with the net neutrality coalition, urging people to submit comments as well as writing and reporting about the issue. Near the end of the process when we still thought the FCC was not going to reschedule, and President Obama had remained silent, we also protested at the White House and urged people to call the president and tell him to support Title II. This is how the system is supposed to work. The FCC proposes a rule, seeks comments and listens. Corporate interests are so used to the public being ignored that they, and their puppets in Congress, are startled that a federal agency actually acted in the public interest.
“The FCC followed the letter of the law by voting for reclassification, and it heeded the calls of millions of Americans. You proved that sound policy that benefits the public interest can carry the day in Washington. Your vote will help keep the Internet open for years to come, free from slow lanes and gatekeeping, which will enable future generations to enjoy the greatest platform for free expression, democracy, and innovation the world has ever known. If Congress acts, it should consider the FCC’s rule the floor, and not the ceiling, when it comes to the protections afforded Americans.” The groups also noted the bipartisan support for Net Neutrality and the FCC’s vote: “Those that support Net Neutrality and Title II represent a wide range of interests and political affiliations. What we have in common is an unwavering belief in the power of the Internet and the need to keep it open for the benefit of the public. This is not a partisan idea.”
WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee will convene a hearing to discuss the FCC’s Feb. 26 Net Neutrality vote. The majority of the witnesses are phone and cable industry-funded spokespeople and pundits, called to appear at another hearing designed to spread fear about Net Neutrality and stop the FCC from protecting the rights of Internet users. Earlier this month, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced his intention to reclassify broadband Internet access as a “telecommunications service” under Title II of the Communications Act. Using Title II would restore basic protections against blocking and unreasonable discrimination by broadband providers, grounding those protections in the proper part of the law for the first time in more than a decade.
Champaign, IL – Despite the snow storm, a crowd of civil rights activists and supporters gathered outside of AT&T store today, demanding the company and other Internet service providers (ISPs) nationwide #DontBlockMyInternet. In the countdown for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to pass new net neutrality rules on February 26 that will keep the Internet fair, fast, and open for generations to come, local groups Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center (UCIMC) and CU Citizens for Peace and Justice –in partnership with the Media Action Grassroots Network, Color of Change, Presente, Free Press, and other partners — gathered to lift up the voices of communities of color and low-income Internet users who won’t stand for corporate gatekeepers interfering with First Amendment rights.
Our ten month campaign to save the Internet (which built on ten years of work) had an against-all-odds victory when the Chairman of the FCC announced that the Internet would be reclassified as a public utility under Title II of the Federal Communications Act. If you remember, this is why we camped outside the FCC last May and continued to protest throughout the year– so that the Internet would be reclassified. This is a crucial step to guarantee net neutrality which means that we all have equal access to content on the Internet and it can’t be turned into a pay-to-play scheme like cable TV. This is a victory of people power over corporate power, indeed over one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington, DC the telecom industry! We have more campaigns to win and must be confident that the people have power and can defeat corporate interests.