Demand Progress


Demand Progress

Demand Progress is a Progressive Political Action Committee founded by Aaron Swartz in 2010. The group runs online campaigns and lobbies in Washington, D.C. for progressive causes, such as Internet censorship and issues of privacy.

On July 19, 2011, Swartz was indicted on charges of wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer, and recklessly damaging a protected computer after downloading roughly 4 million academic journals from JSTOR. Demand Progress is currently running a campaign in support of Swartz, saying the charges "are made all the more senseless by the fact that the alleged victim has settled any claims against Aaron, explained they've suffered no loss or damage, and asked the government not to prosecute."[1] Executive Director David Segal likened the charges to "checking too many books out of the library."[2]

To date, the group has over 500,000 members.

Contents

Campaigns

Net Neutrality

Demand Progress is a vocal proponent of Net Neutrality, running numerous campaigns against Internet censorship.[3] They have claimed over 50,000 signatures on their petition to oppose the Protect IP Act, a campaign that has received the support of Michele Bachmann[4] and Tea Party groups.[5]

On October 7, 2011, Demand Progress attempted to acquire 10,000 new signatures on their anti-Internet Blacklist Bill petition in 24 hours, in response to anti-piracy group Creative America's claim that it had acquired 10,000 signatures in three months; Demand Progress accused Creative America of being a "front group" for the entertainment industry.[6] While Demand Progress fell short of its goal in 24 hours, it did claim 10,000 new signatures within three days.

Demand Progress is also vocal in their support of Wikileaks.[7]

Privacy

Demand Progress runs several petitions supporting the Fourth Amendment rights of US citizens. It actively opposes the PATRIOT Act for its purported violations of the amendment,[8] and also opposes the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace[9] and the use of full body scanners in airports.[10]

Economy

Demand Progress has called for investigations into Goldman Sachs, after Senator Carl Levin lead a Congressional inquiry into the Late-2000's financial crisis and referred Goldman executives to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution.[11] Goldman Sachs executives, including CEO Loyd Blankfein, were accused of lying to Congress at the subcommittee hearing.[12]

Criticism

In a blog post on May 24, 2011, the Motion Picture Association of America accused Demand Progress of being allied with "offshore rogue websites that promote the theft and illegal marketing of American products like movies, video games, and software." The basis of the accusation was a post on the front page of BitTorrent tracker Demonoid linking to the Demand Progress petition against COICA. The MPAA also accused Demand Progress of faking signatures on their petitions, adding fake signatures to them as proof of their invalidity.[13]

A response to the blog was posted on Techdirt on June 10, with a user arguing that a post on Demonoid's front page does not constitute evidence of partnership, and that "other than their two fake emails, they show no evidence that any other signature is actually fake."[14] Demand Progress itself responded on June 16, denying any affiliation with Demonoid, and adding that there is a verification process for signatures collected online.[15]

Arrest of Aaron Swartz

On July 19, 2011, Swartz was charged with wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer, and recklessly damaging a protected computer by the U.S. District Attorney for Massachusetts. Swartz had downloaded roughly 4 million academic journals from JSTOR, and was accused of intending to make them available on P2P file-sharing networks. Swartz surrendered to authorities and was released on bail. JSTOR is not pursuing civil litigation.

References

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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