All posts by Midnightschildren

It’s About Giving People Tools So We Can Reach Transparency Critical Mass


Originally published by Counterspin/FAIR

Janine Jackson: While an ethics fellow at Harvard, young programmer and activist Aaron Swartz downloaded articles en masse from the academic database JSTOR, triggering the aggressive pursuit of MIT’s IT department, and eventually what’s been described as a grand jury runaway train gone off the rails. Threatened with decades in prison and a seven-figure fine because, in the words of US Attorney Carmen Ortiz, “stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar,” Swartz took his own life in 2013. After his death, it was revealed that he, in fact, had authorized access to JSTOR from MIT.

The persecution of Aaron Swartz was a sign of the animus with which some system-representing actors will go after relatively powerless individuals they choose to make examples of. It’s also been taken up as a call to advance the demand to liberate data, for regular citizens to be able to get the information they need to confront power, and to have a say in decisions affecting them.

Joining us now to talk about that work is Tracy Rosenberg, executive director of Media Alliance and co-coordinator of the group Oakland Privacy. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Tracy Rosenberg.

Continue reading It’s About Giving People Tools So We Can Reach Transparency Critical Mass

Amici Letter in USA Today v LA Superior Court


After pop singer Brittney Spears testified dramatically about wishing an end to a lengthy conservatorship administered by her father, her remarks were smuggled from the courtroom into the public domain.

In response, the LA Superior Court chose to end all remote access to all court proceedings for the media and members of the public.

USA Today contested the LA Superior Court decision, both on constitutional grounds and on public health ones, given the current panedemic. At their request, Media Alliance filed an amici letter to the CA Supreme Court asking them to review USA Today’s petition.

On November 8, we found out that the CA Supreme Court has agreed to ask the LA Superior Court to respond to USA Today’s petition.

Free Britney and keep the courts accessible.

Here is our amici letter to the court.


Nov 10 – 13: Join the Facebook Logout


We’re joining Kairos and dozens of other organizations in asking as many people as possible to log off of Facebook and Instagram from Nov. 10 – 13. Take the pledge to logout.

For years Facebook has been rife with scandals and bad decisions, including Cambridge Analyticaignoring disinformation for profitpoor content moderation, and being investigated for antitrust concerns. Every bad decision Facebook makes affects our lives — because the online world doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and there are real-world consequences to Facebook’s irresponsibility. 

We decided enough is enough. 

Continue reading Nov 10 – 13: Join the Facebook Logout

Victory. Oakland’s City Council Unanimously passes internet choice


originally published in Deep Links 10-21-21

Oakland residents shared the stories of their personal experience; a broad coalition of advocates, civil society organizations, and local internet service providers (ISPs) lifted their voices; and now the Oakland City Council has unanimously passed Oakland’s Communications Service Provider Choice Ordinance. The newly minted law frees Oakland renters from being constrained to their landlord’s preferred ISP by prohibiting owners of multiple occupancy buildings from interfering with an occupant’s ability to receive service from the communications provider of their choice.

Continue reading Victory. Oakland’s City Council Unanimously passes internet choice

Facebook Users Union Launches #FIREZUCK Campaign: OCTOBER 17 Protest


Update: On October 17, Facebook Users Union members rolled a car caravan through Palo Alto demanding Zuckerberg step down from Facebook. Read the press coverage:

KTVU: Protesters demand CEO Mark Zuckerberg leave Facebook

KCBS: Protesters call for Mark Zuckerberg’s resignation

KRON: Facebook Users Union plans to protest Mark Zuckerberg

Palo Alto Weekly: ‘Get the Zuck out’: Protesters call for Mark Zuckerberg’s removal as Facebook CEO

KPFA: Flashpoints: Facebook Users Union Launches #FireZuck Campaign

The Patch: Protest Held at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Home

Between The Lines:Facebook Whistleblower’s Explosive testimony Provokes Calls for Regulation

Indybay: Get the Zuck OUT video (50 seconds)

San Francisco-Last night, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen told 60 Minutes that Facebook is misleading the public about lies, hate and disinformation on its platform. We wish we were surprised. Time and time again, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has put Facebook’s profits ahead of truth, safety, health and democracy.

That’s why today the Facebook Users Union launched a #FireZuck campaign telling Facebook that it’s time for Mark Zuckerberg to go. They launched petitions on several platforms and are calling for a protest outside of Mark Zuckerberg’s house in Palo Alto on October 17.

Continue reading Facebook Users Union Launches #FIREZUCK Campaign: OCTOBER 17 Protest

Internet Choice for Oakland (And Berkeley)


A coalition of Internet freedom groups, economic justice organizations and alternative ISP’s is working together to spread Internet Choice legislation beyond San Francisco.

Media Alliance is an anchor for the Oakland Internet Choice Coalition which includes the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Greenlining Institute, The Utility Reform Network, Color of Change, MediaJustice, Oakland Tenants Union and alternative ISPs MonkeyBrains, Sonic, Paxio and People’s Open Internet.

Continue reading Internet Choice for Oakland (And Berkeley)

California Could Vastly Expand Affordable Broadband — If The Legislature Acts Now


by Chris Witteman and Tracy Rosenberg. Originally published at 48 Hills.

Fourteen months of COVID quarantine made one thing clear: we need our broadband. 

It used to be only media activists who insisted that Internet access was an essential service; now it’s accepted wisdom. 

Unfortunately, the last year has also made clear that the current system is broken. Pictures of kids doing homework in parking lots because they have no broadband at home highlight the problem: The market has failed to deliver adequate broadband because there is no market. 

High-speed broadband in most areas is available only from the monopoly cable company, occasionally from the duopoly phone company.  It’s overpricedunreliable, and – even based on the carriers’ overstated reporting — simply not available to millions of Californians – certainly not at the bandwidth needed for today’s applications. 

People know this is so, despite industry propaganda to the contrary.  

Californians need fast, modern Internet. Gov Newsom has responded with a budget that allots $7 billion — from a mix of state surplus dollars and federal rescue money – to actually build public broadband infrastructure rather than just talk about it or continue to throw money at the incumbents.   

Continue reading California Could Vastly Expand Affordable Broadband — If The Legislature Acts Now