Vote needed: Oppose censorship now

Received today from Fight for the Future:

Dear Fight for the Future member,

If you feel like every week there’s is always another looming threat to the future of free speech on the Internet, it’s because there is.

The root of the problem is that too many decisions that impact Internet freedom are made by government bureaucrats and corporate lobbyists behind closed doors and without public input.

Right now, U.S. Congress is planning to pass a “Fast Track” bill that will make this situation even worse by ramming through secret agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership that could lead to more censorship and less privacy online. We think Internet users should have a voice anytime there’s a major decision that impacts our rights.

So we’re organizing an Internet-wide vote on April 23rd to stop “Fast Track” and give Internet users a voice. Will you join?

This is that do-or-die moment. But if we win, it won’t just slow down the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it will send a message to those in power that they can’t mess with the Internet. Ever.

The parties are split on Fast Track — which means if we as Internet users weigh in en masse, we can tip the scales and stop Fast Track for good.

Are you in? Learn how to participate here:

The TPP has pieces of every bad Internet policy we’ve ever fought against, and if it passes now we’ll be kicking ourselves for decades, fighting uphill battle after uphill battle on copyright reform, whistleblower protections, and so much more. Let’s not let that happen.

Yours for Team Internet,

-Evan at FFTF

P.S. Senator Ron Wyden continues to be a key figure in backroom negotiations about “Fast Track.” Please take three seconds to tweet at him today or call his office: (202) 224-5244.

Net Neutrality Opponents Launch Fake E-mail Campaign

Politico reports that over a million fake e-mails were sent to members of Congress claiming to oppose the consumer protections in the recent FCC Net Neutrality ruling. Many of the e-mails were said to have used stolen personal information to impersonate ISP customers.

All of those messages — mostly pre-written by American Commitment — slammed the FCC for treating the Internet like a public utility. Some of the emails called on Congress to “pass language in an upcoming must-pass vehicle that blocks any move by the FCC” to continue down its path. Another derided net neutrality supporters as “extremists.”

Bikini Barista Update

This blog previously described efforts in certain American cities to outlaw bikini-clad coffee-shop waitresses (baristas), presumably under the controversial Supreme Court “secondary effects” doctrine which holds that expressive erotic speech can be restricted based on presumed effects on the neighborhood where it occurs. The Spokane ballot measure I reported on was soundly defeated, heartening free-speech supporters.

The Atlantic recently reported on the phenomenon of scantily clad baristas and their surprisingly widespread acceptance — despite the ambivalence about public expressions of sexuality — in the USA.

“When a woman is actually saying, ‘You know what? I’m going to make money. I’m going to make money with what I’ve got,’ how is that not empowering?”

This Week Around the Internet

In the aftermath of surprising privacy intrusions by the likes of Verizon, the FCC says it is considering adding protections for ISP customers’ private information. Despite its reclassification of Internet service as a Title II common carrier, the agency initially decided not to grant Internet users protections like those already in place for telephone customers.

On the other side of the issue, the big telecom companies have attacked the FCC’s weak Net Neutrality ruling with another scare campaign, complete with fake complaint letters.

Lastly, the controlling parties of the prissy Internet search giant Google made an apparent power grab that could cost the company both money and shareholder goodwill:

An unorthodox stock split designed to ensure Google CEO Larry Page and fellow co- founder Sergey Brin retain control of the Internet’s most profitable company could cost Google more than half a billion dollars.