THE BLOG

Hey, TPP Lobbyists: The Internet Belongs to All of Us

07/31/2013 05:35 EDT | Updated 09/30/2013 05:12 EDT

What does your digital future look like? Thousands of citizens are speaking out right now to shape the future of our Internet. They're taking action to help prevent radical new Internet censorship proposals that could drastically restrict how we share and collaborate online.

The extreme proposals are contained within the highly secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) -- a deal currently being cooked up behind closed doors by old industry lobbyists and bureaucrats.

If Internet users knew of the drastic changes to free expression, Internet accessibility, and privacy proposed by the TPP, it would never pass. In fact, it's only thanks to leaked secret drafts obtained by public interest groups that we have any insight into how the TPP would stifle online activity, invade our privacy, and cost us money.

That's not all. Perhaps the most glaring aspect of the decision-making process behind the TPP is how it entirely shuts out the input of those that it would ultimately impact. Internet users stand to be severely penalized for activities as commonplace and well-intentioned as accidentally sharing a copyrighted recipe with family members online -- yet their voices go unheard at the TPP talks table.

That's why the Fair Deal Coalition, an international group of public interest and business organizations including OpenMedia.org, is launching a participatory and crowd-sourced alternative to the closed and secretive TPP. Our new Internet Voice tool seeks to challenge the restrictive nature of the TPP by inviting citizens, artists, business people, educators, parents, and people from all walks of life to have their say about what a fair digital future for all should look like.

To craft a fair digital future together, we're encouraging participants to make suggestions based on their day-to-day digital experiences. Our Internet Voice initiative will collect opinions, images, stories, and comments directly from Internet users about how the TPP would seriously undermine the open and participatory culture of the Internet. Why not shape the future of the Internet by asking those who care the most -- ordinary Internet users?

The launch of our Internet Voice initiative was timed to coincide with the recent round of TPP negotiations in Malaysia. Throughout these closed-door talks, Fair Deal Coalition members were active on the ground and over the web, raising awareness and debating ongoing issues of digital openness. With negotiators aiming to wrap up TPP talks in the near future, building a visible and connected response to the TPP's lack of transparency has never been more vital.

What do you think? Are you concerned about preserving the Internet's ability to promote innovation and connectivity? Do you want to protect how you collaborate and share your ideas online? Do you agree that secrecy is not a good way to shape our digital future?

We'll take your input and use it to shape a Fair Deal plan of our own -- a plan built by citizens across the globe, a plan that decision-makers cannot ignore.

The negotiators plotting the TPP think that by keeping their antics secret, they can trap countries into pushing through a damaging agreement without our approval. What they're forgetting is that the Internet belongs to all of us -- not just 600 unelected lobbyists.

They need you to stay silent -- the Internet needs you to speak out and share your vision for your digital future. Don't let a small cabal of bureaucrats decide the future of the Internet for you - speak out now at OpenMedia.org/DigitalFuture.

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