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Ivan's introduction to Evan Greer's presentation at the 2015 Nonprofit Technology Conference. Evan is the campaign manager for Fight for the Future, part of a campaign that scored a huge pro-active victory in getting the FCC to reclassify the Internet under Title II -- a critical step toward implementing Net Neutrality.
I'm an online organizer in Portland, OR. I've been a part of a couple of actions, including this event where we delivered floppy disks to Sen. Wyden to tell him that fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership was based on obsolete technology.
I created an infographic in 2013 to publicize Fourth of July demonstrations against NSA spying, which got about 200,000 shares on Tumblr.
But the real news right now is the HUGE VICTORY for Net Neutrality that just took place, with the FCC reclassifying Internet Service Providers as public utilities. The plan for today is to do a case study on how grassroots organizations made that happen.
We're going to hear from Evan Greer, the campaign manager at Fight for the Future, one of the leading organizations part of this battle.
So to set the stage, I think it's important to go back to 2012, and some bills named SOPA & PIPA. The campaign to defeat these bills wasn't the first to mobilize Internet activists—that goes back to the 1990s. But it was the most visible, and engaged people who probably didn't consider themselves "Internet activists"
With prompting from prominent online websites including Wikipedia, Google, Reddit, WordPress, Craigslist, Tumblr, and others, 10 million-plus people signed petitions & more than 8 million people placed calls to members of Congress.
And it was successful. Prior to the Internet Blackout there were 6 senators opposed to PIPA. Twelve hours later there were 36.
A parallel campaign had been happening on Net Neutrality. Coined in 2003 by Tim Wu, popularized early on by Lawrence Lessig, Net Neutrality was the idea that Internet Service Providers should treat all content equally regardless of type.
Several events raised public consciousness of the debate, including ISP bandwidth-limiting policies in the 2000s, mobile "secret caps" to unlimited data plans, Netflix being extorted by Comcast to deliver its video at reasonable speed, and general unease with corporate Internet providers and spying by the NSA, GCHQ and others.
Then, an encampment in front of the FCC's offices, Occupy the FCC, garnered media attention and drove people to submit millions of comments to the FCC.
Grassroots civil rights organizations broke from some of the older groups and organized social justice rallies. Organizers talked about how a lack of Net Neutrality would have a silencing impact on all kinds of activism, especially for marginalized communities.
It was specifically the confrontational tactics—Occupy the FCC, protests at FCC commissioners' offices and homes, demonstrations outside of ISPs like Comcast—that worked.
Over to Evan!