How we fought in 2017
2017 brought unprecedented challenges in the fight for the free and open Internet, but Fight for the Future’s small team and 2 million+ members have been leading the charge to defend it at all costs. By combining hard-hitting political strategy with innovative use of technology, we’re mobilizing grassroots opposition on a scale that lobbyists have never seen before. This coming year may be the most important in the fight for the future of the Internet.
We’re organizing the entire Internet for net neutrality
Along with our allies, we sounded the alarm and built the tech behind the massive online protests that rocked the web this year and drove millions of phone calls, emails, tweets, faxes, and comments to Congress and the FCC. Tens of thousands of websites, subreddits, apps, small businesses, celebrities, and public interest groups participated.
We helped free Chelsea Manning
Fight for the Future worked tirelessly to support whistleblower Chelsea Manning while she was in prison, and waged massive online campaigns that helped lay the groundwork for her release. FFTF Campaign Director Evan Greer wrote about her friendship with Chelsea in The Guardian, and helped organize a Benefit Album for Chelsea featuring major artists like Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Against Me!, Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Graham Nash (Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young), Amanda Palmer, and Michael Stipe (REM.)
We unleashed hundreds of protests in all 50 states
With our friends at Demand Progress and Free Press, volunteers across the country used the Internet to organize hundreds of protests in all 50 states across the US the week before the FCC’s net neutrality vote. Lawmakers felt the impact, while the protests generated widespread local and national TV, radio, and print coverage.
We were profiled in the New York Times
The New York Times dedicated the front page of its Business Section on Friday, December 8, 2017 to a full profile of Fight for the Future and our unique role combining tech and strategy to mobilize massive numbers of people to fight for net neutrality and Internet freedom.
We built the Internet’s simplest digital security guide
2017 brought heightened awareness and threats of government and corporate surveillance, particularly for marginalized communities. We built #GetSafe, the Internet’s simplest digital security starter guide. It makes it easy for everyone to start securing their phones and computers.
We crowdfunded billboards to expose corruption
Fight for the Future members chipped in small amounts to collectively raise more than $40,000 through online crowdfunding campaigns to put up billboards exposing members of Congress who took big money from the telecom industry and then voted to gut net neutrality and Internet privacy. The Internet loved them. Politicians hated them. They had a huge impact on Congress and generated major local and national media coverage.
We helped uncover massive fraud in the FCC docket
Our Comcastroturf.com tool helped Internet users collectively investigate fraudulent comments submitted to the FCC’s net neutrality docket using stolen identities and helped spark major investigations from members of Congress, Attorneys General, the Wall Street Journal, the Government Accountability Office, and many others. Fun fact: one of our campaigners biked around door to door on the first day that we discovered what we thought were fraudulent comments to verify. We never give up
We brought the Internet directly to lawmakers’ doors
With our friends at Demand Progress and Free Press, we helped build Team Internet, a network of more than half a million net neutrality supporters and thousands of volunteers across the U.S. using peer-to-peer text messaging tools and other tech to coordinate hundreds of in-person meetings, drop-ins, and other face-to-face events in lawmakers’ own backyards.
We helped show net neutrality is not a partisan issue
The telecom lobby poured enormous amounts of money into trying to turn net neutrality into a partisan issue, dividing Internet users left vs right. They failed. We actively worked to organize Internet users from across the political spectrum, and poll after poll shows that we’re winning.
We organized small businesses and startups
We helped hundreds of small businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups to make their voices heard through sign-on letters, meetings with lawmakers, and days of action. We helped the world understand why net neutrality is important for small businesses, startups, and the economy, which has played a critical role in building support with lawmakers.
We fought back against expanding surveillance
From mobilizing massive backlash when Congress voted to gut ISP privacy rules to exposing bad legislation to reauthorize NSA spying powers to opposing the Department of Homeland Security’s plans for increased surveillance of social media during border crossings, we’re fighting for human rights and free expression in the digital age.
We mobilized artists and creators to defend net neutrality
We mobilized musicians, artists, performers, and celebrities to reach millions of people who we hadn’t reached yet and educate them about net neutrality. Some of the artists who supported our campaigns this year include Chance the Rapper, Pearl Jam, Alyssa Milano, Cher, Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Incubus, Evangeline Lilly, Talib Kweli, Gramatik, Atmosphere, Bassnectar, The Glitch Mob, Wil Wheaton, Against Me!, Mark Ruffalo, Lilly Wachowski, Broad City, Michael Stipe (REM), and Mark Hammil (Star Wars).
We pushed Internet freedom into the cultural mainstream
What was once a wonky issue relegated to the tech section of blogs is now on stage at music festivals and talked about on late night TV. We used every tool in our toolkit to get hundreds of millions of people talking about net neutrality, pushing Internet freedom issues into the mainstream for the first time ever. FFTF staff were interviewed by nearly every major news outlet including the Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, NBC News, Time Magazine, Billboard, The Atlantic, Washington Post, Fox News, CNN, Wired, Politico, Ars Technica, CBS News, New York Times, NPR, Vanity Fair, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and the BBC.
2018 may be the most important year in the fight for the free and open Internet. Please chip in to support Fight for the Future’s powerful work.