ExpressVPN stands with Fight for the Future

Digital freedom
5 mins
ExpressVPN and Fight for the Future logos.

ExpressVPN is proud to announce an expanded relationship with the nonprofit activism and advocacy group, Fight for the Future (FFTF), and will offer increased support including monetary donations to FFTF’s campaigns to protect Internet freedom.

Fight for the Future is dedicated to protecting and expanding the Internet’s transformative power in our lives by creating civic campaigns that are engaging for millions of people. FFTF fights against attempts to limit our basic rights and freedoms and seeks to empower people so they can demand technology (and policy) that serves their interests.

Activating the Internet for the public good can only lead to a more vibrant and awesome world.

ExpressVPN’s mission is to make it easy for everyone to use the Internet with security, privacy, and freedom which is why are excited to stand side-by-side with Fight for the Future.

Fight for the Future and ExpressVPN: Natural Allies

FFTF and ExpressVPN is a partnership unafraid to take on anyone. Both were highly vocal in the recent FBI vs Apple court case, where Apple was forced to hack their own devices for the benefit of the FBI.

Political status does not grant impunity from the people and Fight for the Future recently launched a campaign against the U.S. government’s CISA bill (Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act). It’s an issue ExpressVPN cares deeply about, and it could have a big impact on the future of the Internet.

What Is CISA?

CISA is supposed to protect us, but what it actually does is strip our right to privacy. CISA obliges companies such as Facebook, Google, Apple, and even our banks to give up private data on anyone, any time a federal agency asks for it.

If the aim of CISA is to protect, then it should implement cyber security laws to defend people from online attacks and abuse. But this is not the case, what CISA does is wait until a crime has happened and punishes after the fact. How does that help a victim? This should be about crime prevention, not punishment after it has occurred. The only people who benefit from such a law are the Federal agencies who can access any data, for any reason, any time.

Nothing to Hide Is Making You Lose

You may think you have nothing to hide, and that may well be true – for now. But what if a law is changed and something you have always done, to the harm of no one, is suddenly considered illegal? The government would have everything they need to incarcerate (or worse) you before you even know a law has been changed. And you would have no say in the matter.

The United States, in particular, has a peculiar system when it comes to passing new legislation. A new law can be tacked onto another, unrelated, proposal in order to force it through the senate. This system opens itself up to abuse and has been used several times in the past to pass through morally dubious and questionable laws that infringe upon a citizen’s right to exist, unencumbered by the government.

Indeed, this very procedure is precisely what is happening right now, with the CISA bill.

CISA Got Worse After It Was Passed

In the weeks since the Senate approved CISA, Speaker Paul Ryan has been busy stripping privacy protections from the bill. The latest changes turn CISA from a mass surveillance bill to a mass incarceration bill:

  • Removed prohibition of information being shared automatically with NSA and DOD (H.R. 1560). Instead, information may be shared directly with DOD and NSA.
  • Removes prohibition on using CISA for “surveillance” activities.
  • Removes limitation that government can only use collected info for cybersecurity purposes (House Homeland Security Bill H.R.1731). Instead, they can use this shared info to prosecute other crimes (which increases the incentive for them to collect and retain more personal information, whether it is related to cyber security or not).
  • Removes the requirement that government scrubs personal information unrelated to a cybersecurity threat before sharing information. (H.R.1731 had this requirement). Instead, scrubbing is at the discretion of Agency.

This is an issue that will affect us all. We must fight it, together. But it’s not the only threat to our digital freedom. FFTF and ExpressVPN are joining forces to combat a number of draconian initiatives.

#IFEELNAKED and Black Out Congress

Edward Snowden’s revelation of NSA phone metadata spying was only the tip of the iceberg. The NSA is secretly wiretapping huge portions of the Internet, vacuuming up the contents of millions of emails and text messages. NSA spying is al violation. It’s like a strip search, online. So, quite rightly, FFTF are holding Congress accountable for enacting such mass surveillance into law.

#IFEELNAKED is a movement against the mass surveillance by the NSA.

People all around the world are sharing pictures of themselves naked to highlight the violation they feel by the NSA. And FFTF is forcing this in Congress’ face.

Participating websites are encouraged to embed a small snippet of code on their web pages that detect the IP address of Congress’ computers and redirects them to the #ifeelnaked photos page. The aim is to completely black out their Internet, as they seek to do to ours. Now they know how we feel!

Governments should not be spying on innocent citizens.

The Fight to End Surveillance

ExpressVPN and Fight for the Future are completely committed to ending surveillance.

The FBI is flying spy planes over U.S. cities, taking photos and scooping up the cell phone activity of potentially hundreds of thousands of innocent Americans. The planes have been spotted over the Mall of America, where the FBI has been using counterterrorism authority to investigate political protestors connected with the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

FFTF wants Congress to stop the FBI’s spy program. Political protestors should not be investigated using surveillance programs meant for terrorists and the government should have no right to do it.

Hope Is Not Lost, but It’s Time to Make a Stand

FFTF and ExpressVPN want a free and open Internet for everyone. But we have to fight for it.

We urge companies to take matters into their own hands. Don’t bow down to government bullying. Don’t be lazy. Defend your customers’ right to privacy.

It’s time to put some faith in the greatest invention of humankind, the Internet. And it’s time to stand up and fight for it. Which is why ExpressVPN is extremely proud to step into the ring with Fight for the Future.

The governments of the world need to remember that we are not their people, they are our governments.

End surveillance image: piotr_roae/Dollar Photo Club

Johnny 5 is the founding editor of the blog and writes about pressing technology issues. From important cat privacy stories to governments and corporations that overstep their boundaries, Johnny covers it all.