On the final day of their #KeepItOn campaign to raise awareness of internet shutdowns, Lush and Access Now beat their target and will hand in 45,927 signed petitions from 148 countries to government leaders at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF 2016) in Guadalajara, Mexico, where they are meeting to discuss the future of the open internet.
Deji Bryce Olukotun, Senior Global Advocacy Manager at Access Now, says: “Internet shutdowns go hand-in-hand with state violence, but the good news is that we know that governments respond to international pressure. This bold statement from Lush supporters and internet users worldwide will step up the fight to end this practice, which harms human rights and economies. We implore all governments to affirm their commitment to keep the internet on.”
About the campaign
In 2016 alone, Access Now has documented more than 50 major shutdowns worldwide. That’s why on Black Friday (November 25th, 2016), together with Lush, the organization launched a new chapter in the global #KeepItOn campaign which saw 30 Lush websites around the world shut down and Lush staff and local campaign partners invite customers to join the fight by signing a petition asking world leaders to keep the internet on.
The #KeepItOn campaign also aims to raise £250,000 from all profits of a limited-edition bath bomb, Error 404, to go into a Digital Fund to support campaigns to #KeepItOn across the world. Available in Lush shops and online until the end of the year, the bath bomb will raise funds that will go to Access Now and global grassroots digital activists fighting to keep the internet free, open, and safe. Organizations fighting shutdowns are invited to apply for grants from £100 – £10,000.
The application process starts today (December 7th, 2016), and the deadline for completed applications is January 15th, 2017.
During the three-week Lush campaign, there were in fact three major shutdown victories for #KeepitOn. The Gambia became the latest country to shut down its internet and international phone lines on the eve of their presidential elections — the most critical moment in a democracy. International pressure saw them back up and running the next day. The Republic of Chad and Ethiopia also lifted restrictions on blocking social media which had been going on for months. While the Lush collaboration now ends, the #KeepitOn campaign will continue to fight. Find out more at https://www.accessnow.org/keepiton
About the Digital Fund
For further information on the Digital Fund, see this article introducing the fund. The application process starts today, December 7th, 2016, and the deadline for completed applications to be submitted is January 15th, 2017.
Access Now has been fighting internet shutdowns since its founding in 2009, when the government of Iran disrupted the internet around its elections. The #KeepitOn coalition includes more than 100 organizations from nearly 50 countries who are pushing back against this practice at all levels — at the United Nations, at the government level, and with key stakeholders such as telecommunications companies and investors. In July 2016, the U.N. Human Rights Council unequivocally condemned internet disruptions, and through the Global Network Initiative, technology companies spoke out against them. The world’s largest technology association, the GSM Association, issued strong guidelines on what it calls Service Restriction Orders.
Lush Press Office: 020 7434 3948 or email [email protected]
Deji Bryce Olukotun
Senior Global Advocacy Manager, Access Now