Dear FCC Chairman Wheeler,
Please protect our free data!
Today’s mobile society demands that we use our mobile phones more and more. We love being able to send texts, stream movies, track our steps, play games, navigate, and do a million other things on our smartphones whenever, wherever, and however we want.
That’s why we need you to safeguard free data. Free data plans empower us to exert even more control over how we use mobile services. Being able to stream as much music or video as we want is an amazing thing – it frees up data that we can use on other things. Free data lets us explore new information in new ways or lets us try out new applications.
Free data plans are not only compatible with the FCC’s open internet rules, they also create valuable opportunities for people to save money and for small businesses to gain visibility in what has become an increasingly crowded field of online content creators and marketers.
The vast majority of consumers say they are in favor of free data. So far, the FCC has done the right thing by allowing free data plans. It should continue on this path. The FCC should evaluate each new plan individually and only take action to prohibit a plan if a mobile provider or content company engages in bad behavior that actually hurts consumers. The FCC should not categorically ban free data plans.
As people concerned about our monthly bills and interested in getting the best the internet has to offer, we ask the FCC to continue to protect free data plans. There is no one-size fit all approach for how we use our smartphones to get online. But one thing is for sure – the FCC should support and encourage free data plans.
PRE-PAID MOBILE PHONE ID
Dear Congresswoman Speier:
Please reconsider your prepaid mobile phone identification bill!
For millions of Americans, prepaid options for mobile phones are the only way they can participate in the broadband revolution. Prepaid mobile plans are available regardless of credit and financial history and they allow customers to monitor and adjust their usage – and how much they pay – on a month to month basis.
While it was likely crafted with the best intentions in mind, the practical effect of H.R. 4886 would be far broader than what you intended. In fact, it would have a disproportionate impact on people of color and low-income Americans – two of the largest groups of consumers who rely on prepaid mobile phones to stay connected.
Like in the voting rights context, imposing excessive identification requirements unfairly targets members of our nation’s most vulnerable communities. Not only will excessive ID requirements create barriers to access for economically vulnerable Americans, they will also create a record-keeping system that could be used against people of color and the poor in other contexts.
For these reasons, we respectfully ask you to reconsider your bill. We applaud your efforts to be proactive in an area deserving of your attention, but we ask that you consider withdrawing this legislation until a more equitable framework for protecting our security interests in the purchase of prepaid mobile phones can be created.
Dear Congressman Scott:
Please defend our most vulnerable citizens by rejecting any legislation that caps the very “Lifeline” to a better tomorrow!
No one should be denied access to the Internet. For over thirty years, the Lifeline program has helped the poor remain connected to phone service and now to the indispensable tool of daily life we call the Internet.
Recent progressive reforms have modernized the Lifeline program so that our communities can take advantage of what so many of us take for granted – access to the Internet.
Allowing Lifeline participants access to the Internet is not only the right thing to do, it is a modest investment that helps close the stubborn disparity in access we call the “Digital Divide” while lifting our communities out of poverty and into the main streets of dignity and economic self-sufficiency.
Lifeline is simply too important a program to not appropriately fund as basic human needs demand.
Total spending on the Lifeline program is a mere drop in the bucket for the federal budget, especially given its enormous direct consumer benefit through the assistance it provides those of us who need it most—our poor, the disabled, the elderly and the unemployed.
We urge you to protect our communities by protecting Lifeline from short-sided and unnecessary restraints called “caps”.
We petition you to do the right thing and defend our most vulnerable citizens by rejecting any legislation that caps the very “Lifeline” to a better tomorrow.
Dear FCC Commissioners:
Action is needed now to stop the unwarranted use of Stingray surveillance technology!
Our Constitution protects us against unreasonable search and seizure. These protections are more vital today than ever before because of the ability of new technologies to spy on us without ever knowing. Recent news reports about abuse of Stingray technology to surveil innocent citizens betrays the trust upon which society is built – trust between those enforcing the laws and those to whom the law is applied.
Not every use of the Stingray is illegal – there are many legitimate purposes. But without proper safeguards and procedures in place, there are far too many opportunities for abuse. This is especially true in communities of color, which have long been subject to a disproportionate amount of scrutiny by law enforcement. A coalition of 45 civil rights, public policy, and public interest organizations recently sent a letter to the FCC highlighting these specific concerns. We respectfully urge you to take them to heart and act to protect innocent citizens from overreach and intrusion by the very people we trust to protect us each and every day.
As leaders of the nation’s primary monitor of the communications industry, you have the ability to protect consumers from the unlawful use of technologies like the Stingray. The task force you convened to study this issue was a promising first step, but formal action is needed to make clear when and how these tools can be used. Your leadership on this issue is also needed to drive change in other parts of government. For example, the FCC should spearhead a partnership with the Department of Justice to develop and implement Stingray guidelines. You should also work with Congress and leaders at the state level to craft legislative solutions as well.
Action is needed now to stop the unwarranted use of Stingray surveillance technology. All citizens, but especially those of color, need peace of mind that their mobile communication won’t be illegally monitored by those charged with protecting us.