US: Save the Internet

To all Members of Congress:

As concerned US citizens, we call on you to stand for a free and open Internet and vote both against the Protect IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act. The Internet is a crucial tool for people in the US and around the world to exchange ideas and work collectively to build the world we all want. We urge you to show true global leadership and do all you can to protect this basic pillar of our democracy.
 
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Posted: 16 November 2011
Right now, the US Congress is debating a law that would give them the power to censor the world's Internet -- creating a blacklist that could target YouTube, WikiLeaks and even groups like Avaaz!

Under the new law, the US could force Internet providers to block any website on suspicion of violating copyright or trademark legislation, or even failing to sufficiently police their users' activities. And, because so much of the Internet's hosts and hardware are located in the US, their blacklist would clamp down on the free web for all of us.

The vote could happen any day now, but we can help stop this -- champions in Congress want to preserve free speech and tell us that an international outcry would strengthen their hand. Let’s urgently raise our voices from every corner of the world and build an unprecedented global petition calling on US decision makers to reject the bill and stop Internet censorship. Sign the petition and then forward as widely as possible -- our message will be delivered directly to key members of the US Congress ahead of the crucial vote.

For years, the US government has condemned countries like China and Iran for their clampdown on Internet use. But now, the impact of America's new censorship laws could be far worse -- effectively blocking sites to every Internet user across the globe.

Last year, a similar Internet censorship bill was killed before reaching the US Senate floor, but it's now back in a different form. Copyright laws already exist and are enforced by courts. But this new law goes much further -- granting the government and big corporations enormous powers to force service providers and search engines to block websites based just on allegations of violations -- without a trial or being found guilty of any crime!

US free speech advocates have already raised the alarm, and some key Senators are trying to gather enough support to stop this dangerous bill. We have no time to lose. Let's stand with them to ensure American lawmakers preserve the right to a free and open Internet as an essential way for people around the world to exchange ideas, share communication and work collectively to build the world we want. Sign the petition to stop US censorship, and save the Internet as we know it.

In the past months, from the Arab Spring to the global Occupy Movement, we've seen first hand how the Internet can galvanize, unify and change the world. Now, if we stand together, we can stop this new attack on Internet freedom. We've done it before -- in Brazil and Italy, Avaaz members have won major victories in the fight for a free Internet. Let's take the fight global, and mobilize to defeat the most powerful censorship threat that the Internet has ever seen.

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