Data

General Issues
Media, Telecommunications & Information
Science & Technology
Specific Topics
Internet Governance
Information & Communications Technology
Infrastructure
Location
Boston
United States
Scope of Influence
National
Links
https://www.battleforthenet.com/
https://www.battleforthenet.com/scoreboard/all/
Start Date
Ongoing
Yes
Time Limited or Repeated?
Repeated over time
Purpose/Goal
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of government and public bodies
Develop the civic capacities of individuals, communities, and/or civil society organizations
Deliver goods & services
Approach
Protest
Advocacy
Social mobilization
Spectrum of Public Participation
Inform
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Open to All With Special Effort to Recruit Some Groups
Legality
Yes
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Both
Information & Learning Resources
Written Briefing Materials
Video Presentations
Decision Methods
Not Applicable
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
New Media
Type of Organizer/Manager
Non-Governmental Organization
Funder
Fight for the Future
Type of Funder
Non-Governmental Organization
Individual
Activist Network
Staff
Yes
Volunteers
Yes
Evidence of Impact
Yes
Implementers of Change
Appointed Public Servants
Elected Public Officials

CASE

Battle for the Net

9 mars 2019 Jaskiran Gakhal, Participedia Team
10 octobre 2018 Isadora
9 octobre 2018 Scott Fletcher Bowlsby
9 octobre 2018 Isadora
General Issues
Media, Telecommunications & Information
Science & Technology
Specific Topics
Internet Governance
Information & Communications Technology
Infrastructure
Location
Boston
United States
Scope of Influence
National
Links
https://www.battleforthenet.com/
https://www.battleforthenet.com/scoreboard/all/
Start Date
Ongoing
Yes
Time Limited or Repeated?
Repeated over time
Purpose/Goal
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of government and public bodies
Develop the civic capacities of individuals, communities, and/or civil society organizations
Deliver goods & services
Approach
Protest
Advocacy
Social mobilization
Spectrum of Public Participation
Inform
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Open to All With Special Effort to Recruit Some Groups
Legality
Yes
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Both
Information & Learning Resources
Written Briefing Materials
Video Presentations
Decision Methods
Not Applicable
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
New Media
Type of Organizer/Manager
Non-Governmental Organization
Funder
Fight for the Future
Type of Funder
Non-Governmental Organization
Individual
Activist Network
Staff
Yes
Volunteers
Yes
Evidence of Impact
Yes
Implementers of Change
Appointed Public Servants
Elected Public Officials

Battle for the Net is Fight for the Future's primary initiative to preserve net neutrality in the United States and prevent Internet Service Providers from manipulating broadband delivery and service in a way that benefits their content over other creators'.[1] 

Problems and Purpose 

Internet Service Providers in the US sued the Federal Communications Comission to reverse network neutrality protections for internet users. The campaign is an effort to reverse this pressure through regulatory and congressional action by informing and helping Americans mobilize public ally and digitally.

Background History and Context

The project began in 2014 during mass protests against Verizon specifically, and Internet Service Providers in general. After these companies defeated the Federal Communications Commission's 2010 net neutrality order in court, Fight for the Future created its Battle for the Net campaign to keep broadband protected and neutral, lobbying for the FCC to classify it as a common carrier under 'Title II' of the 1934 Communications Act and Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.[3] In 2017 the Trump Administration's FCC reversed net neutrality rules, reigniting Battle for the Net's campaign.

Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities

Battle for the Net is a joint initiative between Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, Free Press, and Engine Advocacy.[4]

Their first organized protest, held on September 10, 2010[5] was called Internet Slowdown Day, a coordinated digital protest between sites[6] that supported net neutrality, where a "loading wheel" was displayed and visitors were redirected to send their comments to the FCC. 

Participant Recruitment and Selection

The initiative is open to any participants given its online distribution.

Methods and Tools Used

Battle for the Net is primarily a mobilization effort, encouraging people to call and email congressional representatives, as well as snowball recruitment (asking individuals to commit to convincing someone/company with a larger reach to join as well); publicizes net neutrality support through digital protests like "blackouts" and "slowdowns"; and reaches out to small businesses and large website companies to sign a petition in support of net neutrality.[1] 

What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation

 The September 10, 2014 Internet Slowdown Day mobilized over two million people, who sent a similar number of emails to the US Congress and made 312,171 calls, and filled 777,364 comments with the FCC, and recruited/collaborated with over 40 thousand websites. In turn, these websites (Tumblr, Vimeo, Netflix, Etsy, Kickstarter, Upworthy, Namecheap, Foursquare, Cheezburger, Meetup, etc.) helped direct calls to Congress and linked to Battle for the Net's petition campaign[1]. The campaign also began organizing in-person sit-ins at the FCC in Washington DC to pressure Chairman Wheeler to meet, but this was unnecessary since their petition campaign was enough to obtain reconsideration for a meeting [7]. 

Battle for the Net succeeded insofar as the FCC adopted its 2015 Open Internet order, which reclassified the internet under Title II, with other common carrier services that protected internet traffic from ISP interference. Battle for the Net thus shifted its focus to campaigning against further ISP mergers[8]. However, with the change of administration, a net-neutrality dissenting commissioner became FCC Chairman. The administration announced its intention to reverse the application of the FCC's oversight power in January, and made the repeal of net neutrality effective on June 11, 2018. As a response, Battle for the Net returned to its net neutrality organization activism using similar tactics as before: digital protesting through coordinated avatar and profile changes, running a website banner, and contacting Congress members to get them to reinstate the 2015 FCC net neutrality order through a Congressional Review Act motion. 

So far, the new fight for net neutrality has yielded 18,269,435 emails, 1,787,103 phone calls, and 537,546 test messages sent to Congress; 8,161 websites have participated and 7,033 businesses have come out supporting the CRA.

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

The CRA resolution passed the Senate 52-47 [10] in May 2018 with pressure from Battle for the Net's One More Vote February 27 campaign [11], and is currently working on convincing the House to adopt the resolution, to send it to President Trump. Battle for the Net successfully worked on getting the only Republican House member to agree to support net neutrality[12], Rep. Mike Coffman’s (R-CO))[13], but the House is still 24 votes short of the simple majority needed to sign the discharge petition, which would then force a vote past the refusal of Republican leadership (Paul Ryan, R-WI), and has until the end of the year to make it pass. 

As of September 26, 2018, there were over 20 in-person events listed on the Battle for the Net's website, and more than 50 small gatherings and a large in person protest were held on June 27, 2018 as part of an organized "advocacy day"[9] across the US. Supporters are encouraged to attend events in their area and to engage in other activities such as circulating a petition and calling their congressional representative.[1]

Fight for the Future also continued to update its Congressional Scorecard for Battle for the Net's campaign in light of the 2018 midterms, as a means of linking Battle for the Net citizen outreach efforts to electoral outcomes, helping voters focus their efforts on House representatives who are against the petition to restore net neutrality [14] and documenting how much money from "big ISPs" each opposing House member has received. It has also identified 23 races where candidates opposing net neutrality are vulnerable to losing their seat[15]. It is unclear whether Battle for the Net has been able to convince Congressmembers to switch positions, beyond bringing Representative Mike Coffman to the fold, who introduced a separate net neutrality bill prohibiting ISPs from blocking or throttling internet traffic and bans paid prioritization (fast lanes) called the 21st Century Internet Act[16].

The issue has become politicized despite multiple studies finding voters' bipartisan support for net neutrality among voters, which have been conducted by the Program for Public Consultation of the School of Public Policy in the University of Maryland [17]

Analysis and Lessons Learned

Battle for the Net seems to be fighting against ISPs' attempts to politicize Net Neutrality by capturing one party (Republicans) with anti-regulation language that ignores voters' preferences. Whether Battle for the Net is successful in reversing the Trump Administration's pro-service provider and monopoly-increasing mergers through a polarized FCC under the Chairmanship of Ajit Pai remains to be seen, but they carried over many tactics from Fight for the Future (scoreboard and elections pressure, public shaming through billboards, in person demonstrations, digital protesting).

 
[This section will be revised with a follow up after the 2018 midterms, given the change in regulations derived from the change in administrations from the 2016 election.]  

See Also

References

 [1] "Join the Battle for Net Neutrality," Battle for the Net, June 16, 2014, https://www.battleforthenet.com/ 

[2] "How We Won," Battle for the Net, March 10, 2015, https://www.battleforthenet.com/how-we-won/

[3] "What is reclassification, and why is it controversial?," Vox.com, April 11, 2014 https://www.vox.com/cards/network-neutrality/why-did-the-court-rule-the-fccs-network-neutrality-rules-illegal

[4] Battle for the Net, "Battle for the Net is a project of Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, Free Press, and Engine Advocacy," [Twitter Bio], September 2014, https://twitter.com/battleforthenet?lang=en

[5]https://www.battleforthenet.com/sept10th/

[6]Walker, Lauren (September 10, 2014). "On Internet Slowdown Day, Are Websites Conceding That Net Neutrality is Dead?". Newsweek. Retrieved September 11, 2014;

https://www.zdnet.com/article/major-tech-firms-join-internet-slowdown-on-september-10/

[7]http://www.occupythefcc.com/

[8]https://www.battleforthenet.com/comcast/

[9]https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/net-neutrality-congress-gatherings/

[10]https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/05/16/net-neutrality-is-getting-a-big-vote-in-the-senate-today-heres-what-to-expect/

[11]https://www.battleforthenet.com/onemorevote/

[12]

https://voqal.org/coalition-of-small-business-and-activists-continue-the-fight-for-net-neutrality/

[13] https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/07/bill-to-save-net-neutrality-gets-first-republican-vote-in-us-house/

[14] https://www.battleforthenet.com/scoreboard/all/

[15] https://www.votefornetneutrality.com/

[16] https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/17/coffman-net-neutrality-midterms-1583482, bill text: 

https://coffman.house.gov/uploadedfiles/final_text_coffman_net_neutrality_bill.pdf

[17] 2018 graphics: https://www.statista.com/chart/12270/public-opinion-on-net-neutrality/, breakdown of question wording of same survey: http://vop.org/overwhelming-bipartisan-public-opposition-repealing-net-neutrality-persists/?doing_wp_cron=1526542271.3174910545349121093750 with a comparison to a December 2017 survey and figures for FCC argument favorability compared to counterargument (52% vs 72%), full report of 2018 slides available in http://www.publicconsultation.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Net_Neutrality_II_Slides_041818.pdf, see slide 5 for convincibility breakdown by intensity and party identification, summary and link to December questionnaire, slides, and survey: http://www.publicconsultation.org/united-states/overwhelming-bipartisan-majority-opposes-repealing-net-neutrality/

External Links

Official Site: https://www.battleforthenet.com/

Loading wheel: https://www.battleforthenet.com/images/change_avatar/avatar-black.gif

Notes

See also: Fight for the Future , Protest , Petition 

Lead image: Fight for the Net https://goo.gl/xPAKsu

Secondary Image: Net Neutrality/Soha https://goo.gl/dC31dn