Internet Freedom & Privacy

  • Flight of the Concord Drones
    This blog post was written by Kenny Gutierrez, EFF Bridge Fellow. The City Council of Concord, California, is tone deaf to community concerns regarding a proposed police Unmanned Aerial Surveillance (UAS) system – commonly referred to as drones. In a city where the police department is responsible for nearly 60% of the city budget, this…
  • California Activists Sue Marin County Sheriff for Illegally Sharing Drivers’ License Plate Data With ICE, CBP and Other Out-of-State Agencies
    Immigrants’ Privacy, Security Threatened by Sheriff’s Practice, Which Violates California Law San Francisco—Community activists in Northern California today sued Marin County Sheriff Robert Doyle for illegally sharing millions of local drivers’ license plates and location data, captured by a network of cameras his office uses, with hundreds of federal and out-of-state agencies—a practice that violates…
  • Come Back with a Warrant: Congress Should Pass the Protecting Data at the Border Act
    We do not lose our constitutional rights at the border. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), however, believes you do. In fiscal year 2019 alone (before the pandemic curbed international travel), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers conducted nearly 41,000 electronic device searches without seeking a warrant supported by probable cause of wrongdoing…
  • Records Shed New Light on Trump White House Officials’ Efforts to Punish Social Media
    Within a day of Twitter fact-checking President Donald Trump’s May 2020 false tweets about mail-in voting, federal officials began trying to find out how much government agencies spent to advertise on social media. This inquiry was likely part of a planned effort to cut that funding, according to records released last month. The records, released…
  • EFF to Tenth Circuit: First Amendment Protects Public School Students’ Off-Campus Social Media Speech
    EFF filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in support of public school students’ right to speak while off school grounds or after school hours, including on social media. We argued that Supreme Court precedent makes clear that the First Amendment rarely allows schools to punish students for…
  • What the Facebook Whistleblower Tells Us About Big Tech
    Through her leaks and Congressional testimony, Frances Haugen, the “Facebook Whistleblower,” revealed a lot about Facebook’s operation. Many of these revelations are things we’ve long suspected but now have proof of: Facebook focuses on growth—of users and time spent on its platforms—to the exclusion of everything else. For Facebook, growth trumps all, even the health…
  • Livestream Panel Discussion Tuesday: EFF, Encryption Users Will Discuss Consequences of Apple’s Planned Scanning Tool, Suggest Changes
    Photo Scanning Breaks Privacy and Security Promises to Users San Francisco—On Tuesday, October 12, at 8 am PT, EFF Senior Staff Technologist Erica Portnoy and representatives from more than 10 human, digital, and children’s rights organizations will hold a livestreamed panel discussion about the ramifications of Apple’s plans to add scanning tools to its devices…
  • Face Recognition Technology: Commonly Used Terms
    As face recognition technology evolves at a dizzying speed, new uses and terminologies seem to develop daily. On this page, we attempt to define and disambiguate some of the most commonly used terms. For more information on government use of face recognition and how to end it in your community, visit EFF’s About Face resource…
  • Bring on the Publicity Trolls: Federal Appeal Court Ruling Drastically Undermines Online Speech
    In a disastrous ruling for online expression, innovation and competition, a federal appeals court has held that internet intermediaries are on the hook for expensive litigation and potential damages for violating a person’s “right of publicity,” (i.e., the right to control the commercial use of your persona). All because some people think of this right…
  • U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Public School Students’ Off-Campus Speech Rights
    In a win for freedom of speech, the U.S. Supreme Court held that public high school officials violated a student’s First Amendment rights when they suspended her from cheerleading for posting a vulgar Snapchat selfie over the weekend and off school grounds. EFF filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court in support of the…
  • EFF Stands With #SaveAlaa, Calls for Release of Alaa Abdel Fattah, Activist and Friend
    My conditions are but a drop in a dark sea of injustice. – Alaa Abdel Fattah,  November 7, 2019, at State Security Prosecution EFF is profoundly concerned about our friend, Egyptian blogger, coder, and activist Alaa Abd El Fattah, who has been jailed for more than two years at a maximum-security prison in Tora, 12…
  • Cross Border Police Surveillance Treaty Must Have Clear, Enforceable Privacy Safeguards, Not a Patchwork of Weak Provisions
    This is the fourth post in a series about recommendations EFF, European Digital Rights, the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic, and other civil society organizations have submitted to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which is currently reviewing the Second Additional Protocol to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, to…
  • EFF, Access Now, and Partners to European Parliament: Free Speech, Privacy and Other Fundamental Rights Should Not be Up for Negotiation in the Digital Services Act
    European Union (EU) civil society organizations, led by EFF and Access Now, are keeping a sharp eye on the myriad proposals to amend the European Commission’s Digital Services Act (DSA) ahead of important committee votes in the European Parliament (EP). We want to see the DSA, which will overhaul regulations for online platforms, foster a…
  • EFF to Court: Stop SFPD from Spying on Protesters for Black Lives
    EFF and the ACLU of Northern California recently filed a brief asking the San Francisco Superior Court to rule that the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) violated the law when it obtained and used a remote, live link to a business district’s surveillance camera network to monitor protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder…
  • SHOP SAFE Is Another Attempt to Fix Big Tech That Will Mostly Harm Small Players and Consumers
    Congress is once again trying to fix a very specific problem with a broad solution. We support the SHOP SAFE Act’s underlying goal of protecting consumers from unsafe and defective counterfeit products.  The problem is that SHOP SAFE tackles the issue in a way that would make it incredibly difficult for small businesses and individuals to…
  • Digital Rights Updates with EFFector 33.6
    Want the latest news on your digital rights? Then you’ve come to the right place! Version 33, issue 6 of EFFector, our monthly-ish newsletter, is out now! Catch up on the latest EFF news, from our protests at Apple stores to celebrating that HTTPS is actually everywhere, by reading our newsletter or listening to the…
  • HTTPS Is Actually Everywhere
    For more than 10 years, EFF’s HTTPS Everywhere browser extension has provided a much-needed service to users: encrypting their browser communications with websites and making sure they benefit from the protection of HTTPS wherever possible. Since we started offering HTTPS Everywhere, the battle to encrypt the web has made leaps and bounds: what was once…
  • Why EFF Flew a Plane Over Apple's Headquarters
    For the last month, civil liberties and human rights organizations, researchers, and customers have demanded that Apple cancel its plan to install photo-scanning software onto devices. This software poses an enormous danger to privacy and security. Apple has heard the message, and announced that it would delay the system while consulting with various groups about…
  • How California’s Broadband Infrastructure Law Promotes Local Choice
    The legislative session has ended and Governor Newsom is expected to sign into law S.B. 4 and A.B. 14. These bills stand as the final pieces of the state’s new broadband infrastructure program. With a now-estimated $7.5 billion assembled between federal and state funds, California has the resources it needs to largely close the digital…
  • No, Tech Monopolies Don’t Serve National Security
    In what appears to be a “throw spaghetti on the wall approach” to stopping antitrust reform targeting Big Tech, a few Members of Congress and a range of former military and intelligence officials wrote a letter asserting that these companies need to be protected for national security. It’s a spurious argument that seeks to leverage…
  • The Catalog of Carceral Surveillance: Patents Aren't Products (Yet)
    In EFF’s Catalog of Carceral Surveillance, we explore patents filed by or awarded to prison communication technology companies Securus and Global Tel*Link in the past five years. The dystopian technology the patents describe are exploitative and dehumanizing. And if the companies transformed their patents into real products, the technology would pose extreme threats to incarcerated…
  • Texas’ Social Media Law is Not the Solution to Censorship
    The big-name social media companies have all done a rather atrocious job of moderating user speech on their platforms. However, much like Florida’s similarly unconstitutional attempt to address the issue (S.B. 7072), Texas’ recently enacted H.B. 20 would make the matter worse for Texans and everyone else. Signed into law by Governor Abbott last week, the Texas law prohibits platforms with…
  • Surveillance Self-Defense Guides Now Available in Burmese
    As part of our goal to expand the impact of our digital security guide, Surveillance Self-Defense (SSD), we recently translated the majority of its contents into Burmese. This repository of resources on circumventing surveillance across a variety of different platforms, devices, and threat models is now available in English, and in whole or in part…
  • EFF and Allies Urge Council of Europe to Add Strong Human Rights Safeguards Before Final Adoption of Flawed Cross Border Surveillance Treaty
    EFF, European Digital Rights (EDRi), the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), and other civil society organizations have worked closely on recommendations to strengthen human rights protections in a flawed international cross border police surveillance treaty drafted by the Council of Europe (CoE). At a virtual hearing today before the CoE Parliamentary…
  • Geofence Warrants Threaten Civil Liberties and Free Speech Rights in Kenosha and Nationwide
    In the days following the police shooting of Jacob Blake on August 23, 2020, hundreds of protestors marched in the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Federal law enforcement, it turns out, collected location data on many of those protesters. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) used a series of “geofence warrants” to force Google…
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