Call Your Members of Congress · Online Privacy, Net Neutrality

Defend Net Neutrality and Keep the Internet a Level Playing Field for All

Call your members of Congress and tell them to fight any Republican and Trumpian efforts to dismantle net neutrality, which ensures that the Internet remains freely open to all, regardless of how much money you have or the type of content you produce.

Tech types, free speech advocates, and others have long defended net neutrality, a bundle of concepts that together ensures that the Internet is freer and fairer for all by requiring Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to treat all content equally.

For example, net neutrality policies ensure that rich companies cannot pay extra to have their sites load faster than their less wealthy challengers in the marketplace. It also prevents ISPs from deliberately slowing down the load times of sites by content providers who compete with them.

Defenders of net neutrality had successfully fought off many attempts to destroy it, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had favored it under Obama. Unfortunately (and I’m sure you’re so surprised) Trump appointed Ajit Pai, one of net neutrality’s keenest enemies, to head the FCC. One of the first things Paid did was prevent nine companies from offering discount high-speed internet service to poor people.

The Trump administration has also announced that net neutrality is officially in its sights. (Scroll down for a NYT story on this and for other background pieces on net neutrality.)

Incidentally, this is a different issue from that affected by H.J. Res 86, which takes away Internet privacy protections from consumers. They’re only related in the sense that Republicans and Trump are favoring the wishes of companies over the needs of ordinary people.

The Republicans and Trump will have a harder time trying to dismantle net neutrality. Apple and Google have been active defenders, as have entities such as the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF). In other words, there’s greater awareness of the need for net neutrality and its champions have more experience with fending off attacks. But we need to come to their aid now.

If we don’t, the Internet will go from a level playing field to one that favors wealthy, well-known companies over under-funded upstarts.

Important: Before you call, check the site below. (You might need to scroll down a bit). It will show you how all your members of Congress stand on net neutrality–in favor, undecided, or against. Learn where they stand, then add a line at the end of this script thanking them for standing up, urging them to defend net neutrality, or asking them to change their minds.

 

https://www.battleforthenet.com

 

Sample script: “Hello, I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, state). I am calling to ask Senator/House Rep. (Lastname) to do everything possible to defend the notion of net neutrality from those who want to destroy it. If net neutrality goes away, it will create two Internets–one for the well-connected and wealthy, and a slower, shabbier version for everyone else. Please stand up and reject any attempts to wreck net neutrality, whether it comes from Ajit Pai, head of the FCC, or your Congressional colleagues, or Trump. Thank you.”

 

 

 

Read how the Trump administration plans to target net neutrality soon:

Read about how Trump’s FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, is against net neutrality:

More about what the loss of net neutrality means, and why big Silicon Valley companies such as Facebook, Apple, etc., should be up to defend it:

https://phys.org/news/2017-02-net-neutrality-silicon-valley.html

 

And more, from the same source, on how to defend net neutrality. Short answer: “Raise hell.”:

https://phys.org/news/2017-02-defend-net-neutrality.html

 

Call Your State Legislators · Online Privacy, Net Neutrality

Urge Your State Legislators to Protect Your Privacy on the Internet

Call and email your state legislators and ask them to create laws that will protect your privacy on the Internet.

Earlier, we urged you to call your house reps and ask them to vote against H.R. Res 86, which, if passed, would gut consumer privacy protections online. (We’re sure you won’t be surprised to know the bill was entirely sponsored by Republicans.) Well, it passed, and Trump signed it.

Now we must turn to our state legislators to protect us from those who would harvest our data and sell it.

 

Some state legislatures are already on the case. Illinois is working on a European-style “right to know” law that would tell customers what information search engines and social media platforms are gathering on them, and who they’re selling it to. Minnesota is mulling a law that would stop Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from selling consumer information without written permission. Massachusetts state senators just introduced a bill similar to Minnesota’s.

The first step in asking your state legislators to pass laws protecting your online privacy is knowing who they are.

Find your state senator and house rep here, as well as your state attorney general:

https://whoaremyrepresentatives.org/

 

 

Then call or email them and ask them to pass laws that protect consumer privacy online, assuming they aren’t already doing that. If they are, tell them that you support their efforts, and ask what you can do to help make them law.

 

Sample script: “Hello, I am <Firstname Lastname from town, zip code>. I am contacting you to ask you to write, support, and pass laws that will protect <state name> consumers’ online privacy. As you know, Trump recently signed a law that allows Internet Service Providers to harvest information about their users’ online movements and sell it to third parties. I would like you and your colleagues to consider bills like those being discussed in Minnesota and Massachusetts, which would not let ISPs sell someone’s data without their written permission. Illinois is also considering a bill that would force search engines and social media platforms to tell consumers what data they’re gathering, and who they’re selling it to. Laws like these would do much to protect our privacy online. Thank you.”

 

Read about the states’ reaction to the passage of HR Res 86:

 

Read about the efforts in the Illinois and Minnesota state legislatures to protect their residents’ online privacy:

Now that the US federal government doesn’t care about internet privacy, states are stepping in

 

Read about Massachusetts state senators’ reaction to the federal law:

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/business/article143518559.html

Call Your Senators · Online Privacy, Net Neutrality · Uncategorized

Call Your Senators TODAY, Monday October 2, And Urge Them To Vote Against Giving Ajit Pai A Five-Year Term at the FCC

Call your senators TODAY, Monday October 2, 2017, and urge them to vote NO on giving Federal Communications Commission chair Ajit Pai a full five-year term.

This is admittedly a long shot, but we’re rescheduling things to do this as our new post because the vote is scheduled for today.

Pai is hell-bent on destroying net neutrality, the policy that forces the powers that be who govern the Internet to treat all traffic the same, no matter how much they pay. If net neutrality is destroyed, providers can reserve better, faster service for those who they charge for the privilege, and stick the rest of us with poky service for no reason beyond the fact that we can’t or won’t pay for what we used to get as a matter of course.

Trump re-nominated Pai to the post in March. Senator Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from the state of Washington, is determined not to let Pai’s renomination pass without a fight.

Read this story for more on Cantwell’s opposition:

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/09/senator-launches-opposition-to-ajit-pais-fcc-re-confirmation/

Here’s a script for calling your senators today on this:

“Dear Senator (Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code). I am calling to ask you to vote no on giving FCC chair Ajit Pai a full five-year term at the agency. He wants to destroy net neutrality and deregulate the broadband industry. If he succeeds, he would split the Internet in two, making a version that favors the wealthy and another version that punishes the less wealthy. There is no good reason to do this and it would make the Internet experience worse for everyone. Please vote against re-upping Pai’s tenure. Thank you.”

 

 

Online Privacy, Net Neutrality

Join the Day of Action for Net Neutrality on July 12

Join the Day of Action for Net Neutrality, a protest and awareness-raising event set for July 12.

A metric crapload of entities are coming together to raise the alarm over the need to defend net neutrality, a fight that OTYCD has written about before. If net neutrality goes away, the Internet will no longer be a level playing field. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) could charge more for faster service. The vibrancy of the medium would suffer a body blow, and corporations would gain more leverage over what you see and how quickly you get to see it.

The link below gives you tools to join the Internet-wide day of action to stand up for net neutrality. You can change your online avatar to a spinning wheel ‘o loading. You can display an alert on your site that will let your online audience contact the FCC and Congress. It also offers a video bumper that explains what net neutrality is and why we need to fight for it.

 

See the Day of Action for Net Neutrality site here:

https://www.battleforthenet.com/july12/

 

Here also is the main web site for the entity leading the protest, the Battle for the Net, which is a joint effort of Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, and Freepress Action Fund:

https://www.battleforthenet.com

Call Your House Rep · Online Privacy, Net Neutrality

SCREAM at Your House Rep to Vote Against H.J. Res 86, Which Would Make Online Privacy a Joke

Call your house rep and demand that they vote against H.J. Res 86, which would make a mockery of online privacy.

You need to do this TODAY because the bill has already passed the Senate and the House will vote on it TODAY (March 28). 

Why this bill sucks, per the good guys at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and others: If it passes, it would repeal Obama-era rules and would allow your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to sell the data it collects from your search history and sell it to advertisers.

This would happen even if you take measures to protect your own privacy online. If the bill passes, the only real way to shield yourself from those who would exploit you and market you would be to use an anonymity network such as Tor.

Of course the grossness doesn’t stop there. The bill would also let ISPs force ads into your online traffic that are based on where it sees you go online.

It would also let your ISP redirect your online searches to companies that pay them to send you to them, even if they’re not the best result for your needs.

It would let them pre-install software on your phone that logs your movements online and sends the findings to your ISP.

It would let ISPs force undetectable cookies that can’t be deleted–so-called ‘supercookies’–into your traffic. Supercookies are so intrusive that they can override use of an Incognito window or a do-not-track feature.

It will surprise you not one whit that all the sponsors of the Senate version of the bill and all the sponsors of the House version of the bill are–wait for it–Republicans! Not one Democrat among them.

IMPORTANT. Before you call, check the link below. Is your Republican house rep one of the co-sponsors of this bill? Then it’s extra-important that you call to voice your opposition.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-joint-resolution/86/cosponsors

 

Sample script: “Hello, I’m (Firstname Lastname, from town, state.) I am calling to ask House Rep (Lastname) to vote against H.J. Res 86, which would render online privacy moot. Instead of treating your online search history like sensitive, private information, the bill, if passed, would allow internet service providers to snoop on your movements and sell the information to marketers and advertisers and who knows who else. The bill would also nullify tools that people use now to shield themselves, such as incognito windows and do-not-track measures. Please vote against this outrageously intrusive bill.”

 

Bonus points: Is your Republican senator one of those who sponsored the Senate version of this terrible bill? Check the link below and if need be, call and complain. And bookmark the link for reference when they’re up for re-election.

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/sjres34/details#

 

Read a GovTrack piece on the legislation (it names two sponsors but not every one of them).

https://govtrackinsider.com/this-bill-could-allow-telecom-companies-to-sell-your-private-internet-history-69d37081eb8e

 

See GovTrack’s summary of the House version of the bill:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hjres86

 

Read an NPR.org piece on the legislation:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/02/24/517050966/fcc-chairman-goes-after-his-predecessors-internet-privacy-rules

 

Read the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)’s assessment of the bill:

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/03/five-creepy-things-your-isp-could-do-if-congress-repeals-fccs-privacy-protections

 

Read a Reddit AMA on the topic: