Internet Freedom & Privacy

  • Why You Can’t Sue Your Broadband Monopoly
    EFF Legal Fellow Josh Srago co-wrote this blog post The relationship between the federal judiciary and the executive agencies is a complex one. While Congress makes the laws, they can grant the agencies rulemaking authority to interpret the law. So long as the agency’s interpretation of any ambiguous language in the statute is reasonable, the…
  • Google’s FLoC Is a Terrible Idea
    The third-party cookie is dying, and Google is trying to create its replacement.  No one should mourn the death of the cookie as we know it. For more than two decades, the third-party cookie has been the lynchpin in a shadowy, seedy, multi-billion dollar advertising-surveillance industry on the Web; phasing out tracking cookies and other…
  • The Justice in Policing Act Does Not Do Enough to Rein in Body-Worn Cameras
    Reformers often tout police use of body-worn cameras (BWCs) as a way to prevent law enforcement misconduct. But, far too often, this technology becomes one more tool in a toolbox already overflowing with surveillance technology that spies on civilians. Worse, because police often control when BWCs are turned on and how the footage is stored,…
  • Officials in Baltimore and St. Louis Put the Brakes on Persistent Surveillance Systems Spy Planes
    Baltimore, MD and St. Louis, MO, have a lot in common. Both cities suffer from declining populations and high crime rates. In recent years, the predominantly Black population in each city has engaged in collective action opposing police violence. In recent weeks, officials in both cities voted unanimously to spare their respective residents from further…
  • What the AT&T Breakup Teaches Us About a Big Tech Breakup
    The multi-pronged attempt by state Attorneys General, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission to find Google and Facebook liable for violating antitrust law may result in breaking up these giant companies. But in order for any of this to cause lasting change, we need to look to the not-so-recent past. In the…
  • Federal Court Agrees: Prosecutors Can’t Keep Forensic Evidence Secret from Defendants
    When the government tries to convict you of a crime, you have a right to challenge its evidence. This is a fundamental principle of due process, yet prosecutors and technology vendors have routinely argued against disclosing how forensic technology works. For the first time, a federal court has ruled on the issue, and the decision…
  • From Creativity to Exclusivity: The German Government's Bad Deal for Article 17
    The implementation process of Article 17 (formerly Article 13) of the controversial Copyright Directive into national laws is in full swing, and it does not look good for users’ rights and freedoms. Several EU states have failed to present balanced copyright implementation proposals, ignoring the concerns off EFF, other civil society organizations, and experts that…
  • The SAFE Tech Act Wouldn't Make the Internet Safer for Users
    Section 230, a key law protecting free speech online since its passage in 1996, has been the subject of numerous legislative assaults over the past few years. The attacks have come from all sides. One of the latest, the SAFE Tech Act, seeks to address real problems Internet users experience, but its implementation would harm…
  • Virginia's Weak Privacy Bill Is Just What Big Tech Wants
    Virginia’s legislature has passed a bill meant to protect consumer privacy—but the bill, called the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act, really protects the interests of business far more than the interests of everyday consumers. Take Action Virginia: Speak Up for Real Privacy The bill, which both Microsoft and Amazon supported, is now headed to the desk…
  • Interoperability Gains Support at House Hearing on Big Tech Competition
    With a new year and a new Congress, the House of Representatives’ subcommittee covering antitrust has turned its attention to “reviving competition.” On Thursday, the first in a series of hearings was held, focusing on how to help small businesses challenge Big Tech. One very good idea kept coming up, backed by both parties. And…
  • EFF joins Dozens of Organizations Urging More Government Transparency
    EFF has joined 42 other organizations, including the ACLU, the Knight Institute, and the National Security Archive calling for the new Biden administration to fulfill its promise to “bring transparency and truth back to government.”  Specifically, these organizations are asking the administration and the federal government at large to update policy and implementation regarding the…
  • Creators: Stand Up Against New, Draconian Copyright Rules
    In 2020, the Senate subcommittee on intellectual property held a series of hearings on the effectiveness of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). And while many groups, including EFF, presented evidence that copyright enforcement hurts online expression, the draft bill released in December largely disregards those concerns. The draft bill is called the Digital Copyright…
  • Coded Resistance: Freedom Fighting and Communication
    It’s nearing the end of Black History Month, and that history is inherently tied to strife, resistance, and organizing related to government surveillance and oppression. Even though programs like COINTELPRO are more well-known now, the other side of these kinds of stories are the ways the Black community has fought back through intricate networks and…
  • Student Surveillance Vendor Proctorio Files SLAPP Lawsuit to Silence A Critic
    During the pandemic, a dangerous business has prospered: invading students’ privacy with proctoring software and apps. In the last year, we’ve seen universities compel students to download apps that collect their face images, driver’s license data, and network information. Students who want to move forward with their education are sometimes forced to accept being recorded…
  • How Do Copyright Rules Affect Internet Creators? And What Can They Do About It?
    If you make and share things online, professionally or for fun, you’ve been affected by copyright law. You may use a service that depends on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in order to survive. You may have gotten a DMCA notice if you used part of a movie, TV show, or song in your…
  • Cops Using Music to Try to Stop Being Filmed Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg
    Someone tries to livestream their encounters with the police, only to find that the police started playing music. In the case of a February 5 meeting between an activist and the Beverly Hills Police Department, the song of choice was Sublime’s “Santeria.” The police may not got no crystal ball, but they do seem to…
  • Racial and Immigrant Justice Groups Sue Government for Records of COVID-19 Data Surveillance
    Just Futures Law, MediaJustice, Mijente, Immigrant Defense Project and Electronic Frontier Foundation say public must know details of COVID-19 related data collection and sharing San Francisco – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is representing four racial and immigrant justice groups— Just Futures Law, MediaJustice, Mijente Support Committee, and the Immigrant Defense Project—suing the U.S. Departments…
  • EFF to First Circuit: Schools Should Not Be Policing Students’ Weekend Snapchat Posts
    This blog post was co-written by EFF intern Haley Amster. EFF filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit urging the court to hold that under the First Amendment public schools may not punish students for their off-campus speech, including posting to social media while off campus. The Supreme Court has…
  • Speak Up for Real Privacy in Virginia
    Last week, we raised the alarm about an empty privacy bill moving fast through the Virginia legislature. The bill, SB 1392, is supported by Microsoft and Amazon, and would set a dangerous standard for state privacy bills. Take Action Virginia: Speak Up for Real Privacy The bill has passed through the House Committee on Technology, Communications,…
  • Virginia: Speak Up for Real Privacy
    The Virginia legislature, with help from Microsoft and Amazon, has introduced and voted on a so-called privacy bill, the Consumer Data Protection Act (SB 1392), that would do next to nothing to protect your privacy rights. Source: EFF; Virginia: Speak Up for Real Privacy Get involved: https://act.eff.org/
  • EFF to Patent Office: No New Design Patents
    Design is incredibly important to how people use and choose products, but design patents are not. They provide exclusive rights only to ornamental product features, which by definition are not useful or artistic; for those that are, utility patent and copyright protection exist instead. As we’ve said before, we don’t need design patents because they…
  • Turkey’s Free Speech Clampdown Hits Twitter, Clubhouse — But Most of All, The Turkish People
    EFF has been tracking the Turkish government’s crackdown on tech platforms and its continuing efforts to force them to comply with draconian rules on content control and access to users’ data. As of now, the Turkish government has now managed to coerce Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok into appointing a legal representative to comply with the…
  • Indonesia’s Proposed Online Intermediary Regulation May be the Most Repressive Yet
    Indonesia is the latest government to propose a  legal framework to coerce social media platforms, apps, and other online service providers to accept local jurisdiction over their content and users’ data policies and practices. And in many ways, its proposal is the most invasive of human rights.  This rush of national regulations started with Germany’s…
  • New EFF Report Shows Cops Used Ring Cameras to Monitor Black Lives Matter Protests
    LAPD Wanted Unknown Amount of Video for Unknown Reasons – Raising First Amendment Concerns San Francisco – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has obtained emails that show that the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) sent at least one request—and likely many more—for Amazon Ring camera video of last summer’s Black-led protests against police violence. In…
  • LAPD Requested Ring Footage of Black Lives Matter Protests
    Along with other civil liberties organizations and activists, EFF has long warned that Amazon Ring and other networked home surveillance devices could be used to monitor political activity and protests. Now we have documented proof that our fears were founded. According to emails obtained by EFF, the LAPD sent requests to Amazon Ring users specifically…