Internet Freedom & Privacy

  • Three Interactive Tools for Understanding Police Surveillance
    This post was written by Summer 2020 Intern Jessica Romo, a student at the Reynolds School of Journalism at University of Nevada, Reno.  As law enforcement and government surveillance technology continues to become more and more advanced, it has also become harder for everyday people to avoid. Law enforcement agencies all over the United States are … Read More
  • Plaintiffs Continue Effort to Overturn FOSTA, One of the Broadest Internet Censorship Laws
    Special thanks to legal intern Ross Ufberg, who was lead author of this post. A group of organizations and individuals are continuing their fight to overturn the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, known as FOSTA, arguing that the law violates the Constitution in multiple respects. In legal briefs filed in federal court recently, plaintiffs … Read More
  • EFF Joins Coalition Urging Senators to Reject the EARN IT Act
    Recently, EFF joined the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and 26 other organizations to send a letter to the Senate opposing the EARN IT Act (S. 3398), asking that the Senate oppose fast tracking the bill, and to vote NO on passage of the bill. As we have written many times before, if passed, … Read More
  • What the *, Nintendo? This in-game censorship is * terrible.
    While many are staying at home and escaping into virtual worlds, it’s natural to discuss what’s going on in the physical world. But Nintendo is shutting down those conversations with its latest Switch system update (Sep. 14, 2020) by adding new terms like COVID, coronavirus and ACAB to its censorship list for usernames, in-game messages, … Read More
  • Trump’s Ban on TikTok Violates First Amendment by Eliminating Unique Platform for Political Speech, Activism of Millions of Users, EFF Tells Court
    We filed a friend-of-the-court brief—primarily written by the First Amendment Clinic at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law—in support of a TikTok employee who is challenging President Donald Trump’s ban on TikTok and was seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO). The employee contends that Trump’s executive order infringes the Fifth Amendment rights of TikTok’s … Read More
  • Things to Know Before Your Neighborhood Installs an Automated License Plate Reader
    Every week EFF receives emails from members of homeowner’s associations wondering if their Homeowner’s Association (HOA) or Neighborhood Association is making a smart choice by installing automated license plate readers (ALPRs). Local groups often turn to license plate readers thinking that they will protect their community from crime. But the truth is, these cameras—which record … Read More
  • Researchers Targeting AI Bias, Sex Worker Advocate, and Global Internet Freedom Community Honored at EFF’s Pioneer Award Ceremony
    Virtual Ceremony October 15 to Honor Joy Buolamwini, Dr. Timnit Gebru, and Deborah Raji; Danielle Blunt; and the Open Technology Fund (OTF) Community San Francisco – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is honored to announce the 2020 Barlow recipients at its Pioneer Award Ceremony: artificial intelligence and racial bias experts Joy Buolamwini, Dr. Timnit Gebru, … Read More
  • EFF to EU Commission on Article 17: Prioritize Users’ Rights, Let Go of Filters
    During the Article 17 (formerly #Article13) discussions about the availability of copyright-protected works online, we fought hand-in-hand with European civil society to avoid all communications being subjected to interception and arbitrary censorship by automated upload filters. However, by turning tech companies and online services operators into copyright police, the final version of the EU Copyright … Read More
  • Spain’s New Who Defends Your Data Report Shows Robust Privacy Policies But Crucial Gaps to Fill
    ETICAS Foundation’s second ¿Quien Defiende Tus Datos? (Who Defends Your Data?) report on data privacy practices in Spain shows how Spain’s leading Internet and mobile app providers are making progress in being clear about how users’ personal data is being protected. Providers are disclosing what information is being collected, how long it’s being kept, and … Read More
  • Workplace Surveillance in Times of Corona
    With numbers of COVID-19 infections soaring again in the United States and around the world, we have to learn how to manage its long-term ramifications for our economies. As people adjust to minimizing the risk of infections in everyday settings, one critical context is work. Even though millions have shifted to working from home during … Read More
  • EFF Tells California Supreme Court Not to Require ExamSoft for Bar Exam
    This week, EFF sent a letter (pdf link) to the Supreme Court of California objecting to the required use of the proctoring tool ExamSoft for the October 2020 California Bar Exam. Test takers should not be forced to give their biometric data to ExamSoft, the letter says, which can use it for marketing purposes, share … Read More
  • California Still Needs Privacy Protections for COVID Tracking Apps
    Many states have launched their own versions of exposure notification or tracking apps as a part of their response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. California may be poised to join them. Yet the Golden State still has not enacted any privacy standards for state COVID tracking apps, or for contracts the state may enter to … Read More
  • Human Rights and TPMs: Lessons from 22 Years of the U.S. DMCA
    Introduction In 1998, Bill Clinton signed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a sweeping overhaul of U.S. copyright law notionally designed to update the system for the digital era. Though the DMCA contains many controversial sections, one of the most pernicious and problematic elements of the law is Section 1201, the “anti-circumvention” rule which prohibits … Read More
  • Portland’s Fight Against Face Surveillance
    This Wednesday, the Portland City Council will hear from residents, businesses, and civil society as they consider banning government use of face recognition technology within the city. Over 150 Portland-area business owners, technologists, workers, and residents have signed our About Face petition calling for an end to government use of face surveillance. This week, a … Read More
  • Exposure Notification Technology is Ready for Its Closeup
    Since this COVID-19 crisis began people have looked to technology to assist in contact tracing and notification. Technology will never be a silver bullet to solve a deeply human crisis, even if it might assist. No app will work absent widespread testing with human follow up. Smartphones are not in the hands of everyone, so app-based … Read More
  • EFF Responds to EU Commission on the Digital Services Act: Put Users Back in Control
    The European Union is currently preparing for a  significant overhaul of its core platform regulation, the e-Commerce Directive. Earlier this year the European Commission, the EU’s executive, pledged to reshape Europe’s digital future and to propose an entire package of new rules, the Digital Services Act (DSA). The package is supposed to address the legal … Read More
  • Technology Can’t Predict Crime, It Can Only Weaponize Proximity to Policing
    Special thanks to Yael Grauer for additional writing and research. In June 2020, Santa Cruz, California became the first city in the United States to ban municipal use of predictive policing, a method of deploying law enforcement resources according to data-driven analytics that supposedly are able to predict perpetrators, victims, or locations of future crimes. … Read More
  • California: Tell the Governor that Blockchain-Based Immunity Passports Are a Bad Idea
    No one should have to unlock their phone and expose their health information in order to get into their office, school, or neighborhood market. A.B. 2004 is an ill-conceived California bill that endorses a blockchain-based system that would turn COVID-19 test results into permanent records and use those to grant access to public places. By … Read More
  • COVID-19 Tracking Technology Will Not Save Us
    Technology may be part of the solution to stopping the spread of COVID-19, but apps alone will not save us. As more states develop COVID exposure notification apps, institutions and the people they serve should remain skeptical and remember the bigger picture. This is still experimental, unproven technology, both in terms of how it works … Read More
  • Pass the Payment Choice Act
    A growing number of retail businesses are refusing to let their customers pay in cash. This is bad for privacy. Higher-tech payment methods, like credit cards and online payment systems, often create an indelible record of what we bought, and at what time and place. How can you stop data thieves, data brokers, and police … Read More
  • EFF Pilots an Audio Version of EFFector
    Today, we are launching an audio version of our monthly-ish newsletter EFFector to give you a new way to learn about the latest in online freedom, and offer greater accessibility to anyone who is visually impaired or would just like to listen! Listen Now! Surveillance Shouldn’t Be a Prerequisite for an Education – EFFector 32.25 … Read More
  • Cryptographer and Entrepreneur Jon Callas Joins EFF as Technology Projects Director
    Some of the most important work we do at EFF is build technologies to protect users’ privacy and security, and give developers tools to make the entire Internet ecosystem more safe and secure. Every day, EFF’s talented and dedicated computer scientists and engineers are creating and making improvements to our free, open source extensions, add-ons, … Read More
  • It’s Past Time for Coinbase to Issue Transparency Reports
    EFF has become increasingly concerned that payment processors are being asked to turn over information on their customers, without any mechanism for the public to know who is making those requests, or how often. That’s why we are calling on Coinbase—one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the country—to start releasing regular transparency reports that … Read More
  • How California’s Assembly Killed The Effort to Expand Broadband for All Californians
    California is facing a broadband access crisis, as parents are relying more on the Internet every day trying to keep their jobs in the midst of the pandemic while remotely educating their kids. The people of California need help, and the state should move forward now to begin the work needed to finally close the … Read More
  • Digital Identification Must Be Designed for Privacy and Equity
    With growing frequency, the digital world calls for verification of our digital identities. Designed poorly, digital identification can invade our privacy and aggravate existing social inequalities. So privacy and equity must be foremost in discussions about how to design digital identification. Many factors contribute to one’s identity; degrees, morals, hobbies, schools, occupations, social status, personal … Read More