Barely a year after the defeat of SOPA, Congress is back to testing the waters for legislation that many internet users believe to be in violation of their fundamental rights to privacy and free expression. CISPA, a bill that would make it easier for corporations and the government to share internet users' personal data, was officially re-introduced in the House on Wednesday. It’s already being rushed forward in the legislative process. The House Intelligence Committee is holding a full hearing on the bill today at 10 am. They will hear from four witnesses -- all from the business sector and all supporters of CISPA. No experts with concerns about privacy issues were invited to address the committee.Read Full Article
One year ago today, thousands of websites and millions of internet users took action to stop major internet censorship bills in Congress, SOPA and PIPA. The protests changed the way many people think about politics by proving that bringing together an educated public to take action, online, can defaet the corrupt agendas of the most powerful interest groups and members of Congress. To celebrate this enormous, ground-shaking victory, we (PPF) are joining a bunch of the other groups that were involved in the SOPA fight in declaring today, January 18th, a new holiday -- “Internet Freedom Day.”
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We defeated the censorship bills (SOPA and PIPA) because Congress feared that the internet -- the most powerful social technology mankind has ever seen -- was becoming a new political constituency. Now we need to show them that they were correct to be afraid by demonstrating that the internet votes, and that we will vote them out of office if they try to violate our rights. If members of Congress believe that the millions of people who participated the anti-censorship coalition by calling or emailing their representatives are not going to show up at the polls this November, they will not listen to us the next time we have to step up and defend the internet (and you know there will be a next time).Read Full Article
Stopping Congress from screwing up the Internet, again.
Earlier this year, people from all over the Internet rallied to stop SOPA and PIPA, the Internet censorship bills. That was great, but now members of Congress (and the telecom and media companies) are once again trying to destroy the Internet. With SOPA, they tried to give the government wide-ranging authority to shut down huge portions of the Internet. This time they're going to destroy the your privacy. But not if we can help it.Read Full Article
Please watch it in full & share it: Blueprint for Democratic Participation.
Help us facilitate more stop-SOPA-style civic engagement on OpenCongress - around the economy, education, health care, the environment, immigration, technology, or any issue imaginable - support our not-for-profit work. Click through for more of my thoughts on the importance of the stop-SOPA / PIPA movement for netfreedom, as well as why this research is so important for our core non-profit mission of promoting participatory democracy through free Web tools.Read Full Article
Last month’s flurry of Stop-PIPA & Stop-SOPA online protests were an apex of activity for OpenCongress. Not only was January 18th, 2012 the single-highest day of traffic on OC since our launch in February 2007, but also the stop-PIPA action was in many ways the height of user engagement with active legislation in the U.S. Congress. The huge “Internet blackout” event on January 18th was OC’s single largest day of traffic, with over 250,000 visits and more than half a million pageviews (and likely would have been much higher if we could afford more servers and cloud-scaling ability to handle the traffic rush).Read Full Article
Following a day of unprecedented online protest, the web censorship bills in Congress, SOPA and PIPA, have officially been tabled. “In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT I.P. Act (PIPA)," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced this morning.
SOPA in the House was put on hold as well. "It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products," said Judiciary Committee Chairman and SOPA sponsor Rep. Lamar Smith. The SOPA mark-up was scheduled to resume on Feb. 18th, but it has now officially been postponed indefinitely.Read Full Article
Update 1-20-2012, 10am ET: Sen. Reid has officialy pulled the cloture vote on the PIPA net censorship bill that was scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 24th. Follow Ernesto Falcon for updates. Congrats to our new net-freedom sibling org. Fight For the Future & all our terrific allies in the American Censorship coalition.
While we savor this battle-win, keep in mind that net censorship should never have been a legitimate starting point - this terrible legislation was penned and pushed by Hollywood lobbyists & campaign donations, a perfectly egregious example of systemic corruption in the U.S. Congress - and that its supporters nearly succeeded in rushing PIPA / SOPA (the worst Internet legislation in history!) to a cloture vote - all this despite the largest online protest in history. Too close - too corrupt. To be clear, PIPA & SOPA are not dead, and we won't hold off on driving constituents to call their members' offices in opposition until they are past-doubt-dead.
Wednesday's #PIPA protest blew away OC's record for most web traffic in a day - over 256,000 visits, amazing. This post will be continually updated as we build-out our successful wiki community project: whip the Senate against PIPA. More info after the jump.Read Full Article
For readers in the NYC metro area -- tomorrow, join me & over 12,000 others who have RSVP'd for this emergency NY Tech MeetUp protest of NY Senators Schumer & Gillibrand's office, in opposition to their continued co-sponorship of the #PIPA internet censorship bill. A diverse movement (tech entrepreneurs, non-profits, venture capitalists, independent media) is coming together in-person to attract public attention, protest the terrible, shoulda-been-non-starter PIPA legislation... and demand Sens. Schumer & Gillibrand remove their co-sponsorship immediately and convey to Sen. Reid that they'll be voting against PIPA on Jan. 24th when the Senate returns. If you're a New York state consituent, call and write your two senators to let them know you'll be attending the protest - and wherever you're located, use that link to hit up our wiki community project to whip the Senate against PIPA.Read Full Article
In an incredible turn of events, six Republican Senators have asked Majority Leader Harry Reid not to hold a vote on PIPA, the Senate version of SOPA. They write, "Prior to committee action, some members expressed substantive concerns about the bill, and there was a commitment to resolve them prior to floor consideration. That resolution has not yet occurred."Read Full Article
Ahead of the January 24th vote on the PROTECT-IP Act (a.k.a. PIPA) we're organizing a distributed public whip-count campaign to find out where each member of the Senate stands on the bill. This bill would establish the first ever internet censorship system in the United States, and our right to free speech depends on it being killed. It's being rushed to a vote on the first day back from January recess even though the only debate it's had so far was at an 8-minute mark-up session in the Judiciary Committee where no objections were heard.Read Full Article
The internet censorship bills that have been winding their ways through Congress are about to reach a key, make-or-break moment. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] has scheduled a vote on a motion to begin debate of the Senate version, PIPA, for January 24th, the day after they return from recess, and defeating that motion is our best chance for stopping web censorship from becoming law. Let me explain why.Read Full Article
Today's biggest news arrived this morning with the announcement by influential Rep. Paul Ryan [R, WI-01] that he opposes the #SOPA net censorship bill. The Hill reports: "Rep. Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee and a leading conservative lawmaker ... said he would vote against the legislation should it come before the House. ... [Rep. Lamar] Smith’s Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on the bill when Congress returns from its recess later this month. The Senate is also set to vote on its version of the legislation, the Protect IP Act [#PIPA], when Congress returns."Read Full Article
Happy 20-12 all, looking ahead to the second session of the 112th U.S. Congress. The House is officially back in session on Jan. 17th, and the Senate convenes on Monday Jan. 23rd. Until then it's all about district visits & fundraisers, generally speaking.
The most important blog post of the new year - so far - is by our ally Ernesto Falcon of Public Knowledge, giving an overview of the legislative process surrounding the net censorship bill PIPA when the Senate returns under Sen. Reid's prioritization. He writes, "On January 24th, Majority Leader Reid’s cloture motion will have matured its 30 hours and he will then be allowed to call for an up-or-down vote on moving forward to consider PIPA... For example, if 59 Senators voted yes on cloture and 41 Senators voted present or do not vote at all, it fails to pass."Read Full Article
As grassroots opposition to the internet censorship bills known as SOPA and PIPA continues to build, the entertainment industry and their allies in Congress are scrambling to move them forward as quickly as possible. Here's an update on where things stand at the moment and what to expect when Congress comes back from the holiday recess.Read Full Article