Anti-Censorship Protests Sweep Europe Tomorrow: 200,000 people in 200 cities!

Anti-Censorship Protests Sweep Europe Tomorrow: 200,000 people in 200 cities!
Unprecedented street protests target ACTA, a trade agreement that threatens internet freedom.
 Tiffiniy Cheng, Holmes Wilson

Phone: (508) 474-5248
Alternate: (614) 465-6371

Saturday February 11th - Protests against internet censorship will sweep Europe tomorrow, with over 200,000 people committed to participate in 200 cities.  
 Protests are already having an impact.  In the past weeks, leaders in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia have backtracked on ACTA.  Today, Germany just announced its plans to shelve the signing of ACTA: a huge victory for protesters and the anti-censorship coalition.

Fight for the Future, organizers of the internet blackout that defeated SOPA, are calling for websites to support the protests by driving visitors to contact their officials, and offering tools to do so:
"The map of planned protests is just breathtaking," said Fight for the Future co-founder Holmes Wilson, "You've got tens of thousands of people taking to the streets in small cities, in countries where large street protests are not common."

Said Fight for the Future co-founder Tiffiniy Cheng, "This is truly the Internet's Arab Spring.  People are rising up against anti-democratic laws that stifle individual freedoms.  And they're organizing spontaneously, without leaders, using tools available to everyone."

The protests represent a highly decentralized and spontaneous effort.  Their organizational center?  A wiki, a spreadsheet in Google Docs, and a massive list of Facebook event pages.  The largest of these, for a protest in Sofia, Bulgaria, has over 53,000 Facebook users marked "Going".



Protesters' target is ACTA-- a once obscure trade agreement that, like the soundly rejected US law SOPA, would criminalize common forms of online expression, encourage spying by internet companies, and give rightsholders more power to take down websites. 
ACTA was negotiated in secret.  For years, the public's only access to negotiations was when drafts were published on Wikileaks.  The European Parliament must vote to ratify ACTA.  A vote is expected in June.
For more information on the problems with ACTA, see:
In the US, President Obama signed ACTA without approval by Congress, in a move experts say may be unconstitutional.

A new trade agreement "The Trans Pacific Partnership" or "TPP" goes even further than ACTA, and would require its signers to enact even more draconian laws.  Last weekend, trade negotiators partied with MPAA lobbyists before secret negotiations in a Hollywood hotel, while public interest groups were barred from just meeting in the same building.  

"These trade agreements are a gaping loophole.  They create new law, but they're negotiated in secret in a process tailor-made to serve politically connected companies-- in this case the movie industry," said Fight for the Future's Holmes Wilson, "This is a critical moment for democracy: if we can't make secretive trade agreements harder to pass than US law, our internet's future belongs to the lobbyists behind SOPA."  
About Fight for the Future

Fight for the Future is a new non-profit organization that works to defend online rights and personal freedoms.  Fight for the Future organized American Censorship Day on November 16, 2011, the largest online protest in the past 5 years, with more than 4 million people contacting Congress and companies like Tumblr and Mozilla taking unprecedented steps to drive users to contact Congress.

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