Demand Progress

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Demand Progress
Official logo
Type501(c)4 (sponsored by 1630 Fund) and 501(c)3 (sponsored by New Venture Fund)
Legal statusActive
PurposeCivil liberties, anti-corporatism, and government reform advocacy
HeadquartersWashington, DC and Providence, RI
Region served
Worldwide, most focus on U.S.
Approx 2 million members, open enrollment via email.
Executive Director
David Segal
Aaron Swartz
Program Director
David Moon

Demand Progress is an internet activist-related entity encompassing a 501(c)4 arm sponsored by the 1630 Fund and a 501(c)3 arm sponsored by the New Venture Fund. It specializes in online-intensive and other grassroots activism to support Internet freedom, civil liberties, transparency, and human rights, and in opposition to censorship and corporate control of government.[2][3][4] The organization was founded through a petition in opposition to the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, sparking the movement that eventually defeated COICA's successor bills, the Stop Online Piracy Act and the PROTECT IP Act, two highly controversial pieces of United States legislation.[5][6][7]

The organization has continued to fight for such causes in the wake of the successful shelving of these two acts.[8] Demand Progress has also played key roles in forwarding the passage of net neutrality rules,[9] blocking expansion of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act,[10] under which co-founder Aaron Swartz was indicted, and other key legislative efforts. Estimated membership numbers in early 2015 weigh in at over two million. As of late 2013, the organization encompasses the Demand Progress, Rootstrikers and wings/brands.


Demand Progress' Executive Director David Segal is a former Democratic Rhode Island state representative and served on the Providence City Council as a member of the Green Party.[11] The organization was co-founded by Aaron Swartz, an internet activist, and Segal.[12] Immediately prior to the founding of Demand Progress, the pair had worked together on Segal's unsuccessful campaign for Congress, which had been backed by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which Swartz had also co-founded. Program Director David Moon was elected to serve in the Maryland House of Delegates in 2014.


  • Demand Progress co-led efforts to secure passage of net neutrality regulations, including via co-organizing the Internet Slowdown Day mass-action, lobbying, and other activism.
  • Demand Progress has helped lead opposition to the COICA/PIPA/SOPA online censorship bills, to expansion of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and to mass surveillance. It played a critical role in the passage of net neutrality rules in 2014–15, and has engaged in dozens of other campaigns since its inception.
  • The Motion Picture Association of America and United States Chamber of Commerce have stated their opposition to Demand Progress on numerous occasions, mainly in respect to their stance on internet censorship.[13][14] David Moon, Demand Progress' program director, responded to their statements, noting that the mere existence of their retort was proof that "the proponents are panicking."
  • Demand Progress has worked on various projects in tandem with numerous other similar organizations, such as Electronic Frontier Foundation, Center for Democracy and Technology, the American Civil Liberties Union, Fight for the Future, et al.[15][16]


Demand Progress has been involved in grassroots and direct lobbying campaigns in relation to the following efforts, among others:



  • COICA, and its descendants PIPA and SOPA.
  • Backscatter X-ray or "nude scanning devices" used by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
  • Government-mandated Internet IDs, a law proposed by (then) Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, which raised skepticism over efficacy and questionable effects on privacy.[19]
  • Continuation of the Patriot Act, which was set to expire in 2013 but swiftly received large support in Senate for a 5-year reauthorization in late 2012, only few weeks before congressional terms expired.[20]
  • Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, in regard to the "kill switch" controversy which saw a public concern for executive power to "authorize emergency measures to protect the nation's most critical infrastructure if a cyber vulnerability is being exploited or is about to be exploited".[21]
  • Modern debtors' prisons, which have also found opposition from justices in the various states where they are still legal.[22]
  • Censorship of Facebook, mainly in regard to political activists' profiles being suspended without notice, and also their apparent support of outright government-sponsored censorship in countries such as China and Syria.[23]
  • S. 978 (112th), an ill-defined bill which has the potential to allow copyright trolls to press charges against directors of online videos containing clips of copyrighted media, and furthermore anyone who embeds said content into her own website.[24]


  1. ^ "Our Mission". Demand Progress. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  2. ^ Scola, Nancy (Dec 28, 2011). "Stopping the Stop Online Piracy Act – The Great Debate". Reuters. Retrieved Jan 13, 2013.
  3. ^ "The new politics of the internet: Everything is connected". The Economist. Jan 5, 2013. Retrieved Jan 13, 2013.
  4. ^ Gross, Grant (Jan 18, 2012). "Groups Launch Campaign Against Lawmakers Supporting SOPA, PIPA". PCWorld. Archived from the original on 2013-03-16. Retrieved Jan 14, 2013.
  5. ^ Gross, Grant (Feb 6, 2012). "Who was really responsible for the SOPA protests?". Retrieved Jan 14, 2013.
  6. ^ Daught, Gary F. (Jan 20, 2013). "Tribute to Aaron Swartz: Watch his 'How we stopped SOPA' keynote at F2C2012". Omega Alpha | Open Access. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  7. ^ Eckersley, Peter (Jan 12, 2013). "Farewell to Aaron Swartz, an extraordinary hacker and activist". Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved Jan 14, 2013.
  8. ^ Carter, Zach (Nov 12, 2012). "Howard Berman Secretary of State Candidacy Potential Decried By Progressive Group". Huffington Post. Retrieved Jan 14, 2013.
  9. ^ Fang, Lee (Feb 26, 2015). "Net Neutrality Is Here – Thanks to an Unprecedented Guerrilla Activism Campaign". The Intercept. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  10. ^ Grim, Ryan (April 12, 2013). "CFAA: Internet Activists Win First-Round Victory In Fight Over Anti-Hacking Law". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  11. ^ Segal, David (Dec 21, 2011). "Lawmakers Don't Understand Consequences of SOPA" (Opinion). U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved Jan 14, 2013.
  12. ^ "Demand Progress: The Team". Archived from the original on December 31, 2012. Retrieved Jan 12, 2013.
  13. ^ McCullagh, Declan (Oct 31, 2011). "Copyright bill controversy grows as rhetoric sharpens". CNET News. Retrieved Jan 14, 2013.
  14. ^ "How to Generate Huge Petition Numbers Against a Bill that Protects American Workers and Businesses". MPAA Blog. May 4, 2011. Retrieved Jan 14, 2013.
  15. ^ "Success Story: Mobilizing Netizens to Stop Cyber Spying". Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved Jan 14, 2013.
  16. ^ Reitman, Rainey (July 5, 2012). "A Moment to Celebrate: No Data Retention Mandate in Smith's New Child Protection Bill". Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved Jan 14, 2013.
  17. ^ SEC Admits Rules Would 'Discourage' Whistleblowers and Limit Access to 'Important Information' | Common Dreams
  18. ^ Seitz-Wald, Alex (Jan 10, 2013). "The Campaign Against John Brennan". Salon. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
  19. ^ Real ID Online? New Federal Online Identity Plan Raises Privacy and Free Speech Concerns | Electronic Frontier Foundation
  20. ^ A New Year, a New FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization, But the Same Old Secret Law | Electronic Frontier Foundation
  21. ^ Albanesius, Chloe (Jan 28, 2011). "After Egypt, Will U.S. Get 'Internet Kill Switch'?". PC Magazine. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  22. ^ Silver-Greenberg, Jessica (March 17, 2011). "Welcome to Debtors' Prison, 2011 Edition (preview only; subscription required)". The Wall Street Journal.
  23. ^ Facebook Yields to Pressure: Reactivates Political Critics’ Accounts | Global Research
  24. ^ Senators Want To Put People In Jail For Embedding YouTube Videos | Techdirt

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