Free Press Action Fund Releases the 2016 Internet Voter Guide on Presidential Candidates

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Free Press Action Fund Releases the 2016 Internet Voter Guide on Presidential Candidates

WASHINGTON - On Monday, the Free Press Action Fund released the 2016 Internet Voter Guide, which shows how the presidential candidates stack up on the issues that matter most to Internet voters. Those issues include free speech, access, choice, privacy and openness, which are detailed in the platform of Internet 2016, an election-year initiative spearheaded by the Free Press Action Fund.

Over the past decade, tens of millions of people across the United States have demonstrated passionate support for public interest-driven Internet policies. A growing community of advocates worked together to defeat the PIPA and SOPA Web censorship bills in 2012. They realigned in 2013 to form a broad grassroots coalition fighting mass government surveillance of our communications. And in 2015, millions of Internet rights advocates mobilized to secure strong Net Neutrality rules and oppose cable-industry mergers.

Read the 2016 Internet Voter Guide here: internet2016.net/voter-guide/.

Free Press Action Fund President and CEO Craig Aaron said:

“The Internet Voter Guide shows that some presidential candidates care more about their campaigns’ digital operations than about the digital rights and needs of Americans across the country. Internet voters are small-business owners who want to reach a larger market, parents and educators fighting for children who don’t have the Internet access they need to do their homework, and people who are struggling to stay connected, apply for jobs online and fully participate in the political process. By ignoring these voters, candidates are missing the opportunity to reach millions of Americans who care about these issues.

“In recent years we’ve seen tens of millions of people show up to defend their Internet rights; advocates include civil rights organizations, entrepreneurs, artists, teachers, public officials, consumers, technologists and activists. The Internet voter is an emerging force in politics, and this guide will keep Americans informed of candidates’ positions on key issues that should be part of every debate and candidate platform.”

Key findings:

  • No candidate, Democrat or Republican, has supported strong pro-consumer encryption measures. Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio have all challenged Apple’s right to protect the security of its users, and both Democratic candidates vaguely advocated for both parties to work together for a solution. Last month, protests against a court order demanding Apple assist the FBI in breaking into an iPhone were held in more than 30 cities around the world.
  • While more than 34 million Americans lack truly high-speed Internet at home, Trump and Cruz have been silent on the issue and Gov. John Kasich has suggested that consumers are to blame for high broadband prices. In the Republican field, only Rubio has backed legislation to expand affordable Wi-Fi deployment and further use of unlicensed spectrum for Internet access.
  • Though three-quarters of Americans have either no broadband or no choice of Internet service providers, Cruz and Rubio oppose community broadband networks, which give local businesses and residents alternative options for high-speed Internet access. Neither Trump nor Kasich have articulated positions on the issue.
  • Cruz was one of only four Republicans to sponsor the USA Freedom Act, which curbs some of the government’s mass surveillance powers, and Kasich agreed that it was a “step forward.” When Secretary Hillary Clinton was in the Senate, she cast votes that enabled NSA mass surveillance but has since called on the NSA to be more transparent. Sen. Bernie Sanders has opposed the Patriot Act and stated that he would “absolutely” end sweeping NSA surveillance. Trump and Rubio are both in favor of government spying on Americans.
  • Cruz, Rubio and Trump all oppose the Net Neutrality protections that millions of Americans fought for: All three Republican contenders have come out against the FCC’s open Internet rules. Both Democratic candidates have advocated for enforcing strong Net Neutrality rules.
  • Only a few candidates have declared any position on runaway media consolidation, which has led to skyrocketing costs for consumers as competition for services has dwindled. Both Democratic candidates have fought industry consolidation.

The Free Press Action Fund joined 38 other public interest organizations in signing a letter urging moderators to pose questions about broadband access in the presidential debates. The Free Press Action Fund has been active in promoting open, affordable and secure access to communications for all.

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Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net

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