from the please-support-us dept
In the summer of 2014, we ran a crowdfunding campaign to help support Techdirt, in order to do more in-depth reporting on the big net neutrality fight happening in Washington, DC (and, more broadly, around the globe). That campaign was successful beyond our wildest expectations, and allowed us to do much more thorough reporting (including bringing on Karl Bode to help cover these issues) on such an important issue. We ended up writing well over 300 articles since that campaign ended, and that initiative is still ongoing.
Now, we're launching another crowdfunding campaign for an issue that's even more important: the fight over encryption. And so I wanted to ask you to support us again in this new campaign. We literally cannot do this without you:
As you almost certainly know, this battle has ramped up in the last few years -- first in response to the Snowden revelations, followed by a rush by many, including Apple, to better encrypt their services and devices. However, law enforcement and the intelligence communities are less than pleased about all of this, and have been pushing for backdoors and other legislative solutions. This is not new. They pushed for such things in the 1990s, in the original "Crypto Wars," and lost. But now they see a new opening to try again. In the last couple weeks, this issue has blown up even more, as the DOJ sought, and received, a court order directing Apple to effectively write special software to allow the FBI to hack into an iPhone to get around existing encryption and security features.
And, it's not just about this current Apple fight. Or just the US. Congress is looking at this issue, and other governments are eagerly considering how they can use the US's efforts to serve their own wishes. And that's not to mention various other technologies and companies that have been impacted by this debate already.
This is a big deal. It will impact how technology works and how you maintain your security and privacy going forward. It will impact what you get to do on your own devices, and what the government can force companies to do. And not just in the US. The rest of the world is watching closely how this battle plays out, to figure out what they might be able to get away with as well.
And, frankly, most of the reporting is abysmal or, at the very least, confused. When the story of the Apple court order broke, most initial reports falsely stated that the court ordered Apple to "break the encryption" on its phones. We were the first site (and for a while, the only site) to post the actual court order and to discuss what it actually said.
And this is a case where the specifics and the details matter... a lot. We want to be able to do a lot more reporting like this, really digging into the issues and explaining them in a way that everyone can understand and focus on the facts, rather than the fearmongering.
But to do that, we need your support. Believe it or not, writing about the arcane details at the intersection of technology and policy does not attract big time advertisers. In fact, we've lost many advertisers due to our willingness to call out bad behavior by large companies.
So, please support our campaign:
As with the last campaign, the focus is in funding our ongoing reporting on this issue, but we also are hoping to do some creative experiments as well, to further expand the reach of that reporting. So, if we can reach our initial target of $20,000, we'll use some of that money to buy a large number of targeted ads in publications that are read by policymakers in DC (and their constituents), that link back to our reporting. For each $10,000 beyond that that we reach, we'll add another experiment in ways to have our reporting actually reach more people -- including policymakers, the public, and the press.
If you supported us last time around (or in other ways, such as via our Techdirt Insider Shop), I can't thank you enough for your support, and I hope that you found our reporting on net neutrality useful and valuable. If you haven't supported us in the past, please consider doing so now. We strive to not only do great reporting on these issues -- which means actually going beyond just the "he said, she said" versions to calling out blatant lies and hypocrisy when we see it -- but to also build a community here. That means we work extra hard to welcome in people to comment and discuss issues, and we try to avoid the practices adopted by many other sites to push people away. We don't do "paywalls." We don't demand that you turn off ad blockers. Hell, we let you turn ads off on the site. And we also do things like better protect you by still being one of only a few news sites that is fully HTTPS encrypted.
But all of that costs us. Calling out companies means that lots of companies don't want to advertise with us. The ability to turn off ads and only accept HTTPS ads means that our ad revenue is significantly limited. But we still think it's worth it, because focusing on building a better, more engaged community here, where you're welcome to participate, is really important to us. But it also means that, every so often, we may reach out for some help. And now is one of those times. So please consider supporting us.
Oh, and if you need one last reason to support us... yesterday I emailed backers of the original campaign to give them a heads up about this, and look how someone reacted: