This probably sounds really nerdy, but I love the Internet.
I grew up using the Internet, and I watched the Internet grow up with me. Throughout my life, the Internet has been a place where I could create and share new ideas, and discover people who shared similar life experiences at times when I felt most alone. The Internet showed me that there's more going on in the world than what we're taught in school or watch on TV, and it has supported my livelihood as a web developer.
Unfortunately the Internet is in deep trouble right now.
Over the years, powerful forces have been increasingly trying to contain and control the Internet. They see it as a threat: for the first time ever, people all over the planet can communicate directly with one another, challenge unjust governments, and create innovative new business models that subvert old monopolies. All of this threatens the status quo, and the establishment is fighting back.
I've never been an activist until very recently. Maybe I should have started sooner, but my turning point was shortly after Edward Snowden revealed the extent to which the U.S. government was not only spying on online communications, but actively trying to undermine the security protocols that make the Internet work.
That's when I looked for other people who were fighting to protect the Internet, and I found Fight for the Future.
Fight for the Future is the group that organized the SOPA Blackout, defeating legislation that would have censored the Internet, and they've been one of the loudest voices fighting mass surveillance. I was drawn to them because of the clear passion that comes through in their work—they're not afraid to take hard-line stances on controversial issues that other groups would shy away from for fear of alienating their corporate sponsors. I was truly honored that they brought me onto their small team.
Over the last year we've done so much together. We've fought mass surveillance legislation and brought significant reform to the PATRIOT Act. We brought people together to establish strong net neutrality rules in the United States, flooding the FCC and White House with thousands of daily phone calls. All of it was made possible by people who inspired us, and inspired by us, to take action to protect the Internet.
The threats we face in 2016 are bigger than ever, and we need help to keep up our work. We're facing key fights against mass surveillance, to prevent the U.S. government installing back doors in all of our devices. We're also up against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that threatens to censor the Internet and allow corporations to challenge U.S. sovereignty.
Despite challenging some of the most powerful corporate and government interests, our movement has never been stronger. In 2015 we proved that the Internet can unite to be a political force stronger than any special interest group or corporate lobbyist. In 2016 we're going to change the game completely.