Democratic viewpoints on politics, policy and activism

Snooping Bill Would Force ISPs to Retain and Share Your Browsing History, Credit Card and Bank Info

“A direct assault on Internet users” is what the ACLU is calling it.  Just before the break a House committee approved HR 1981, a broad new Internet snooping bill.  They want to force Internet service providers to keep track of and retain their customers’ information — including your name, address, phone number, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and temporarily-assigned IP addresses.

They’ve shamelessly dubbed it the “Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act,” but our staunchest allies in Congress are calling it what it is: an all-encompassing Internet snooping bill.  ISPs would collect and retain your data whether or not you’re accused of a crime.

According to CNET : the “mandatory logs would be accessible to police investigating any crime and perhaps attorneys litigating civil disputes in divorce, insurance fraud, and other cases as well.”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, who led Democratic opposition to the bill said, “‘It represents a data bank of every digital act by every American’ that would ‘let us find out where every single American visited Web sites.”

You can click here to join the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Library Association, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Demand Progress, and 25 other civil liberties and privacy groups in urging Congress to reject this mess of a bill.

And you can watch our new video about the Internet Snooping Bill here.

Celebrate The World Wide Web's 20th Birthday — Ask Your Lawmakers To Oppose The Internet Blacklist

It was twenty years ago this week that Tim Berners-Lee, while working at CERN, put the world’s first website online.  It announced his new creation: the World Wide Web.  Last year while urging Internet users tosign Demand Progress’s petition against the Internet Blacklist Bill, Berners-Lee wrote this about the principles that underpin his project:

“No person or organization shall be deprived of their ability to connect to others at will without due process of law, with the presumption of innocence until found guilty. Neither governments nor corporations should be allowed to use disconnection from the Internet as a way of arbitrarily furthering their own aims.”

The Internet Blacklist Bill — S.968, formally called the PROTECT IP Act — would violate those principles by allowing the Department of Justice to force search engines, browsers, and service providers to block users’ access to websites that have been accused of facilitating intellectual property infringement — without even giving them a day in court.  It would also give IP rights holders a private right of action, allowing them to sue to get sites prevented from operating.  Demand Progress’s new mash-up, posted here, explains the bill in more detail.

S.968 has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, but Ron Wyden (D-OR) is temporarily blocking it from getting a floor vote by using a procedural maneuver known as a hold, noting that “By ceding control of the internet to corporations through a private right of action, and to government agencies that do not sufficiently understand and value the internet, PIPA represents a threat to our economic future and to our international objectives.”

The House is expected to take up a version of the legislation in coming weeks.

“We encourage Americans to mark this 20th birthday of the World Wide Web by defending the principles that underpinned its creation — now under persistent threat by overzealous governments and corporate interests across the globe,” said Demand Progress executive director David Segal.  “In particular, the Internet Blacklist Bill would undermine the basic integrity of the Web, and we expect Congress to take it up when they return from their summer break.”

More than 400,000 Demand Progress members have urged their lawmakers to oppose the Internet Blacklist Bill.  You can email your Senators and Representatives and ask them to oppose S.968 by clicking here.

Obama Administration Pushes Internet Freedom Abroad While Urging Crack-Down At Home

Government hypocrisy rears its ugly head once again. Earlier this month, the United States endorsed a statement supporting a United Nations report on global Internet freedom, saying that “the same rights that people have offline – freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek information, freedom of assembly and association, amongst others – must also be protected online.”

But actions speak louder than words, and it is clear that the government is all talk, based on their efforts to push new domestic laws that would censor the Internet, restrict users’ Internet access, and criminalize an increasing number of online activities.

These potential laws include:

1. An Internet Blacklist Bill (the PROTECT IP Act, Senate Bill 968) that would block users’ access to sites accused of copyright infringement.

2. The “Ten Strikes” Bill(Senate Bill 978), which would make unlicensed online streaming a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

3. A “three strikes” deal between Internet service providers and big business that would reduce bandwidth and restrict access to certain sites for users who have been accused of copyright infringement.

You can help us stop these hypocritical actions, and hold our government to the same standards it promotes abroad, by signing the petitions linked to above or visiting our website .

Demand Progress is a progressive online organizing group and political action committee with more than 400,000 members.

Senate Advances Measure to Criminalize Common Internet Uses

The anti-piracy legislation known as the “10 Strikes” bill, proposed by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), passed out of the Senate Judiciary committee last Thursday and is now advancing through the Senate. This bill would criminalize streaming of copyrighted content, making it punishable by up to five years of jail time.

This bill could have wide-reaching effects: in addition to more obvious methods of streaming, any videos with copyrighted music or of public performances would now be deemed illegal. For example, that means a YouTube video of a party or celebration with music playing in the background could land you in jail.

Klobuchar’s legislation would seriously limit our Internet freedoms. Over 30,000 Demand Progress members have already emailed their lawmakers to urge them to oppose the bill. Will you join them? Click here to make your voice heard and let your lawmakers know that this bill is unacceptable (http://act.demandprogress.org/letter/ten_strikes/?page=sk).

Demand Progress is 400,000 member online activism group and political action committee concerned with protecting civil liberties and promoting progressive political position.

Jail Time for Posting YouTube Videos

In another under-publicized but overreaching government attempt to curb our Internet freedoms, Senators will be voting on what is known as the “Ten Strikes” bill this week. This bill, sponsored by Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), would make it a felony to stream copyrighted content more than ten times-and could result in jail time for offenders.

Will you contact your lawmakers and tell them to oppose this bill? (http://act.demandprogress.org/letter/ten_strikes/?page=sk)

This law wouldn’t just apply to sites that stream television show and movies. As TechDirt points out, “people embedding YouTube videos could face five years in jail…it could also put kids who lip sync to popular songs, and post the resulting videos on YouTube, in jail as well.”

Make sure your Senators know of your opposition. By emailing them directly, you’ll be standing up to big business lobbyists and making a stand for a free and uncensored Internet. Click here to contact your Senators and tell them to vote agains the Ten Strikes Bill (http://act.demandprogress.org/letter/ten_strikes/?page=sk).  

You can learn more about Demand Progress and our other campaigns on our website, demandprogress.org.  

Urge Congress to Reject the Protect IP Act?

Does the acronym PIPA mean anything to you? Well, it should. It represents the PROTECT IP Act, otherwise known as the Internet Blacklist Bill. This act, currently being considered by Congress, would give the government the power to block access to sites accused of copyright infringement, through control of “information location tools” such as Google. This is a clear case of censorship, and it must be stopped. Demand Progress has already helped 24,000 letters of opposition be sent to Congress, but the more support we have, the more impact we’ll have.

Will you email Congress to urge them to oppose the PROTECT IP Act? (http://act.demandprogress.org/act/pipa_letter/?source=sk)

We are facing significant opposition from corporations such as the Motion Picture Association of America, who are doing everything in their power to discredit our campaign and end our efforts. They have gone so far as to claim that we’ve used fake names on our petition. They’re clearly feeling threatened by the support we’ve gained, which means what we’re doing is working. But we can’t relax now-the most important fight is yet to come, as Congress decides whether or not to pass the bill.

You can help by signing our petition and by contacting your senators through the links provided on our website. By emailing them directly, you’ll be proving the MPAA wrong and making a stand for a free and uncensored Internet. Please help us by telling Congress that this bill is unacceptable (http://act.demandprogress.org/act/pipa_letter/?source=sk).

You can learn more about Demand Progress, our campaigns, and PIPA on our website, demandprogress.org.