How A Fired Republican Staffer Became A Powerful Martyr For Internet Activists


Someone in DC thought they had snuffed out an official Republican report on radical intellectual property reform by convincing the authoring agency to erase the document from the Internet and fire the staffer charged with writing it. The shadowy politicking backfired. The young fall-boy, Derek Khanna, instantly became a front-page living martyr against the entertainment and telecommunication lobbies, who have long been villainized for pushing aggressive anti-piracy laws at the expense of innovation.

Just 3 months later, Khanna led a massive 100,000-person petition to give consumers more rights over their cell phone carriers, convincing the White House and Congress to publicly prioritize consumer choice and uphold the principles first laid out in the now non-existent committee document. A day later, legislation was introduced to codify the White House’s support into law, with an official hat-tip to Khanna.

“They sought to ‘silence’ him by firing him, but it just brought him…

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