Learn more about the TPP's threat to Internet freedom at: http://stopthetrap.net

We are...

  • Grassroots Internet freedom group OpenMedia (Steve Anderson)
  • Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian
  • Ben Huh, CEO of The Cheezburger Network
  • Digital rights advocates and experts from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Electronic Frontiers Australia, InternetNZ, Public Knowledge, Public Citizen, and Professor Michael Geist
  • Online innovators Mike Masnick from Techdirt, Elliot Noss from TuCows, and Michael Tippett from Ayoudo
  • Civil society leaders from the ACLU and Andrew Rasiej from the Personal Democracy Media

Do you have a question about the future of the Internet? Want to learn more about secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership's (TPP) Internet trap? Have an idea for how we can reach more people with the StopTheTrap.net campaign?

We’re here all day (9 AM – 7 PM Eastern)! Join us here and contribute to what is surely the most exciting movement of our time: Internet freedom.

Our participant schedule is here and our full list of respondents is here.

From each of us to you: AMA!


General information about the TPP from civil society groups:

Update: Some interesting threads:

Comments: 683 • Responses: 20  • Date: 

kbrooks164 karma

So, please explain what the TPP is and why it is bad.

Steve_Media225 karma

The TPP (which stands for Trans-Pacific Partnership) is a multi-nation trade deal that seeks, among other things, to rewrite the global rules on intellectual property enforcement. Those rules would likely supersede the rules of any participating nation.

One of the main problems with the TPP is that it's being negotiated behind closed doors. But from leaked documents, we know that the TPP would give Big Media new powers to lock users out of our own content and services, provide new liabilities that might force ISPs to police our online activity, and give giant media companies even greater powers to shut down websites and remove content at will. It also encourages ISPs to block accused infringers’ Internet access, and could force ISPs to hand over our private information to big media conglomerates without appropriate privacy safeguards.

*There's a bunch more info on the http://StopTheTrap.net campaign page site (including the footnotes).

bcrashmi103 karma

I'd like to add to Steve_Media's comments and mention that the TPP would rewrite rules not merely for intellectual property enforcement but also almost every aspect of IP. So for instance, it would increase the term of copyright protection. Under the laws of many countries, copyright in books, movies and other creative productions lasts for the life of the author and 50 years after her death. The TPP would expand that term to life plus 70 years. The problem with this rule is that valuable works of art would be locked out of public view for longer and longer periods of time.

RelaxRelapse16 karma

We just keep getting farther and farther away from what copyright laws were originally for...

Do you think that we will someday make copyright laws less extreme or are governments too influenced by corporations for that to happen?

Steve_Media25 karma

with the successful fight against SOPA and ACTA the tide does appear to have turned on restrictive copyright measures -- at least with public opinion. The fact that media conglomerate lobbyists are trying to use trade agreements to get these provisions through suggests they are getting desperate. I suspect their attempts to layer on new Internet restrictions will continue for at least the next several years, but we are at place now where we can and should start pushing the other way. One exciting initiative where Internet users are starting to develop our own priorities for digital policy is the Internet Freedom Declaration.

ClutchHunter6 karma

If copyright gets 'fixed' it will be by the hands and minds of the people. Don't ask how or when that will happen, I haven't a clue, but my guess would be far too long from now.

Steve_Media9 karma

Agreed. We're on our way if we keep engaged.

gadflypro109 karma

It seems that every week I get an open media email with yet another acronym of doom and gloom on the horizon... Is this battle to control our internet going to be a war of attrition, where we are buried under too many acronyms to remember and eventually give in like everything else? I sincerely hope not but I think we need to come up with new ways to freshen up the cause and get it out there in a way that isn't so Cassandra-ish.
My question then is, what can the ground level troops do to help market this better and in a way that differs from "doom and gloom" since fear is rarely a motivating factor in decision making?

Steve_Media26 karma

I think Michael Masnick's answer here addresses that well.

It is a constant struggle, though, to set a positive frame and to be mindful of the amazing possibilities we're fighting for, amidst all the threats we face. We're now trying to do this via the Declaration of Internet Freedom, and we'd love to hear other ideas.

Abuzz49 karma

Do petitions like this make any difference?

Steve_Media59 karma

Absolutely. We describe the process a bit here. In short though, when people come out in numbers (even online) and add their voices to a message by signing a petition (and sharing it on social media, talking about it in their community, etc), it can become really hard to ignore.

We at OpenMedia, at least, have seen a bunch of wins, and it's all because of our community coming together, contributing ideas, and rallying around the issues we all care about.

kushanagi30 karma

I've been following Open Media since the UBB debate and I even helped organised a "protest" in Montreal downtown. I just wanted to thank you for being there and looking out for normal citizen. Most people don't even know that their internet/media liberty is at risk multiple times a year or don't care. Without group like yours, we would be in a really bad place...

Steve_Media27 karma

That's incredibly heart-warming, thanks you!

But everything we've been able to do has been because citizens (yes you) have done the legwork. We're just a small team in an even smaller office, and without people like you who have organized protests and even those who have just clicked-through a petition, we'd be hooped.

You've gotten engaged in these issues, you've added your voice to the conversation, you've informed others—thank you.

oatmealdesign24 karma

Has there been any consideration of writing the equivalent to an internet & communications bill of rights/constitution for Canadians. I would like to see a more pro-active and preventative strategy to protect our internet access.

Steve_Media3 karma

Yup check out the [http://openmedianow.net/declaration-internet-freedom] (Internet Freedom Declaration), and our plan for Canada here: http://openmedia.ca/plan/action-plan

P10n33R23 karma

What do you consider the #1 threat to our Internet freedoms as they stand today?

Steve_Media10 karma

It really depends on where you are in the world and it's certainly changes based on who you ask. It's hard to know which initiative is the most dangerous. I think it's the TPP for those in the affected countries. Some are concerned about proposals to use the a UN agency called the Internet Telecommunications Union to imposed new Internet restrictions. I expect for the next while we'll need to stay vigilant to fight off new attempts to restrict internet freedom by those who wish to protect their outdated business or governance models.

turnipradish19 karma

What do you think the internet will look like 10 years from now?

Steve_Media20 karma

If we all stay active and engaged, fight back against threats like the TPP's Internet trap, and keep looking forward, it'll be whatever users choose to make it.

theycallmemorty11 karma

Is there any hope for the CRTC as a body governing telecommunications in Canada or are they too heavily influenced by the large telecom companies?

Steve_Media9 karma

We're definitely moving forward. Canadians have been getting increasingly involved in Internet/telecom issues and increasingly vocal, and the CRTC seems to be listening. Their rhetoric has now put the public interest at the forefront of their agenda, and they've done a few things recently that indicate that they mean it.

For example, the CRTC has asked citizens for input in developing national rules to protect cell phone users (so we're asking to hear tales of cell phone service frustration at http://CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca). And most recently, they firmly blocked big telecom company Bell's attempt to control an even greater share of the media market.

We've made steady progress, which has now led up to the CRTC showing an understanding that we are all stakeholders in the digital future.

vsTerminus3 karma

we're asking to hear tales of cell phone service frustration

Thank you for this!

I sent my story in already, but here's a brief summary:

My sister's old phone is locked to Bell and cannot be used with a SIM card from any other carrier. When we called bell to ask about unlocking it, they told us it would cost $75. When we asked them to justify that fee, they hung up on us.

Bell doesn't have service in most of Manitoba, so this is now a perfectly good $400 brick, instead of a phone.

I'm hoping the CRTC can help here too.

Steve_Media2 karma

yes the CRTC could definitely ensure that Canadians are able to unlock their phones (AKA our property). We'll be pushing them to do so. Thanks for submitting your story -- it helps give the CRTC the space they need to do the right thing.

kevincollier10 karma

Can we clarify who of you is using which username? So far, I have:

Steve_Media is Steve Anderson of OpenMedia

kn0thing is Alexis Ohanian, cofounder of Reddit

mmasnick is Mike Masnick, founder of Techdirt

garlictown is Ben Huh, CEO of the Cheezburger Network

enoss is Elliot Noss from Tucows

gbunton is Graeme Bunton, also from Tucows

carolinaEFF is the EFF's Carolina Rossini

adiEFF is the EFF's Adi Kamdar

mairaEFF is the EFF's Maira Sutton

jodieg is Jodie Griffin, Public Knowledge

bcrashmi is Rashmi Rangnath, Public Knowledge

enoss3 karma

enoss = Elliot Noss, Tucows

kevincollier2 karma


Steve_Media2 karma

It's not username-specific, but we just added a full list of participants here: http://openmedianow.net/blog/join-us-reddit%E2%80%94were-doing-ama#full

Deku-shrub7 karma

What's your opinion on the global and national Pirate Party movements? A good thing?

Steve_Media6 karma

They've been known to fight for the Internet, and we sure do like that, but it would be ideal if Internet freedom issues had a prominent spot on every political party's agenda.

Nyanarchist6 karma

First of all I want to thank you all for your hard work. I very firmly believe that OpenMedia.ca has saved the Internet in Canada. Things were looking pretty dark for a while with C-32, UBB, and various pieces of lawful access legislation. Here are my questions:

  1. Because of the preservation orders mandated by C-30, it's often argued it is in fact not warrantless surveillance. Why have the ISP voluntary disclosure provisions not gotten more exposure to counter this?

  2. A few people I know have remarked that the STT petition is somewhat vague and while it is of course based on the leaked IP chapter, why haven't figures such as the $10,000 fine been included?

  3. Is OpenMedia.ca ever going to get a online forum community set up?

Steve_Media5 karma

And thank you for being a part of it.

  1. Great point. yes the main issue with c-30 was that it would mandate disclosure of private info without a warrant. But you're right that it happens voluntarily all time already. I think we have a real opportunity to turn C-30 into an opportunity to add new requirements to prevent this from happening. That's what we're pushing for with our lawyers now. I'll bring back to the coalition the idea of getting more exposure to this issue. We were focused on stopping this from getting worse with C-30, but you're right that it's now time to move past that and stop the voluntary disclosure.

  2. We tried to be as specific as we could with the STT petition, but you're right that we can certainly improve on it. Good idea on the $10,000 fine -- I'll run that by our lawyers to make sure it's safe to say then we'll start putting that forward. Maybe a blog on "how much the TPP could cost you". If you have any other ideas please let me know.

  3. Yup it's in the development que. We were hoping to have one up by now but projects like http://openthetpp.net keep getting in the way. I hope we have something available by the end of the year. Sorry for the delay - we're trying to prioritize it.

Thanks for helping us improve our work - I'm bringing this thread back to our team so we can all give it some thought.

turnipradish6 karma

How can someone get involved in internet advocacy? What are the biggest issues threatening internet freedom today?

Steve_Media3 karma

I agree with @LisaC_APC and @Gbunton. Getting in touch with your elected representatives is very powerful, and contributing in any way you can to the efforts of the Internet freedom groups in this AMA is essential.

In terms of the biggest threat to Internet freedom -- this is what I responded to that in another thread:

It really depends on where you are in the world and it's certainly changes based on who you ask. It's hard to know which initiative is the most dangerous. I think it's the TPP for those in the affected countries. Some are concerned about proposals to use the a UN agency called the Internet Telecommunications Union to imposed new Internet restrictions. I expect for the next while we'll need to stay vigilant to fight off new attempts to restrict internet freedom by those who wish to protect their outdated business or governance models.

acidcaribou3 karma

What is the current state of usage based billing and smaller ISP 's.

Steve_Media6 karma

The StopTheMeter.ca campaign did prevent usage-based billing from being forced across the entire Internet service market (see our fancy infographic here), but we do still have a long way to go before Big Telecom price-gouging is stopped altogether.

The next step in the fight is an upcoming CRTC decision about what information Big Telecom can keep secret (from Canadians, the CRTC, competitors). You can read more about that in our update blog here.

coda_3 karma

Does Open Media support any political parties? I admit that sometimes when I receive your emails, I get the feeling that you do. This makes me less likely to support the cause.

Steve_Media2 karma

A good question. No we do not. We're a post-partisan organization. There's a little write up on our approach here: http://openmedia.ca/operate

We celebrate any party or politician that advances Internet freedom and will scold any that act to impose new Internet restrictions. Being non-partisan is essential to our success. Thanks for letting me know that you get the feeling that we do -- I'll try to make it more clear that we are not on the side of any particular political party in future communications. Thanks you.

canadasecond3 karma

Can you give an overview of the different federal party positions on open and affordable internet and digital policy? And, if you're able, your take on their positions or lack thereof.

Steve_Media6 karma

We actually did something like that during the Canadian election last year through our Digital Future Survey. Our recommendations are also on that page.

fixedzero1 karma

What do you suggest for people who want to work in/advocate for internet freedom, but don't understand a lot of the 'back end' stuff? Is it still worthwhile to try to find internships, or should we focus on knowledge & networking first?

Steve_Media2 karma

You don't need to be a developer or a lawyer to know that Internet freedom is important. We all have our strengths—the important thing is to use what you have to push for the best possible future. We at OpenMedia have only come this far because we've collaborated with brilliant writers, designers, communicators, organizers..you name it.. in addition to Internet experts.