Our pro-Internet community has been busy this past month, taking on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on home turf and standing up to powerful interests who want to see the trade agreement finalized before the end of the year.
Freedom of Expression
This military junta is cracking down on free expression in Thailand. Internet, what do you have to say about that?
Article by Aim Sinpeng for Global Voices
The Thai junta’s methods of controlling online speech have only become stronger and more sophisticated since the May coup.
A new Citizen Lab study measuring website accessibility in Thailand from May 22 to June 26 of this year confirmed that 56 URLs had been blocked in the country. Several online news outlets (local and international) critical of the coup were censored, along with social media accounts that shared supposedly “anti-coup” messages, and circumvention tools.
What do websites devoted to frat-boy humor, handmade and vintage clothes, and saving the environment all have in common? They’re all passionate about saving the Internet from being forced into a slow lane. No, we’re not kidding.
The fight to save the open Internet as we know it has found allies in unexpected places. And your OpenMedia team isn’t the first to notice this. As Michael Masnick writing for TechDirt notes, “It's also been fantastic to see that a number of innovative startups have decided to speak out on how important an open and free internet is for being able to build their businesses, to innovate and to compete on the modern internet.”
We did it! Public outcry over Big Telecom’s efforts to force everyone (except those with really deep pockets) into an Internet slow lane has crashed the U.S. Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) website.
Today was the final day to file initial comments with the FCC on the raging debate over Net Neutrality - that is, the idea that no Internet data should be forced into a slow lane online because of expensive ‘prioritization’ fees. Early this morning, the public comment system received an extraordinary amount of traffic from Internet users around the world. So far, the FCC has received over 670,000 comments on its proposal through their online system.
In response to the FCC’s website fail, your OpenMedia team made sure your voices were being heard, by hand-delivering comments to the FCC’s central office in Washington, D.C. The delivery took place in cooperation with dozens of other groups in the fight for the open Internet. For our part, we took the names of over 125,00 Internet users who have joined the OpenMedia community by signing on to our Say No to the Internet Slow Lane campaign.
Good news everyone! Our friends at reddit are crowd-sourcing a formal submission to the U.S. FCC about proposed rules that could force businesses and users everywhere into an Internet slow lane. As many of you already know, U.S. Big Telecom companies have been aggressively pushing a set of rules that would force everyone except those with deep, deep pockets (think: major media conglomerates) into a second-tier of service that could slow their content to a crawl.
At the heart of the debate is the status of “net neutrality” – arguably the founding principle of the Internet, and a key component to innovation online. Those familiar with reddit (AKA: “the front page of the Internet”) will be unsurprised that the company has come out strongly in support of the open Internet and authentic net neutrality.
While there are many reasons to be concerned about the future of net neutrality, we think reddit sums it pretty well:
This post is from OpenMedia and does not represent the Fair Deal Coalition.
For over two years now, we've been pushing back against the secretive and extreme Trans-Pacific Partnership, specifically the provisions around intellectual property, which would censor the Internet and require your Internet service provider to make serious violations of your privacy rights. Those behind this deal - the 12 negotiating countries, and the industry lobbyists who get privileged access to the negotiations - never make it easy for civil society groups to participate in the negotiating rounds. This time really was a new low, however, as at the last minute the location of the talks changed from Vancouver to Ottawa - 3,500 kilometres away.
Since we'd already promised the over 19,000 people who submitted comments using our ">Internet Voice tool that we would share their concerns with the TPP decision-makers, I made the trip to Ottawa. I'm taking this opportunity to tell you a little bit about what that was like - to take you under-the-hood of how it feels to challenge huge government and corporate bureaucracies in this way, by bringing public perspectives into what should be a democratic process.
A huge endorsement for the equality of all bits and bytes on the Internet. Stay tuned tomorrow to find out what YOU can do.
Article by the New York Times
The last few months have been critically important for the future of Internet freedom and access.
Top 11 things the government doesn't want you to know about the TPP. Number 3 has really got me worried. Which one bothers you the most?
Article by Daniel Tencer for The Huffington Post
- It Could Criminalize Small-Scale Downloading
Canada’s new copyright laws, passed last fall, cap the liability for unauthorized downloading of copyrighted material at $5,000, so long as the downloading is not for commercial purposes. But the TPP could force Canada to institute criminal penalties even for small-time downloaders, according to a number of consumer advocacy groups.