Given the focus over the last few posts on internet censorship and freedom of expression, I wanted to highlight an organisation that has been at the forefront of the fight for liberty ever since the early days of the internet’s public use – the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
The EFF is a non-profit operation that focuses strongly on advocacy and legal representation in the public’s interest. Founded in 1990, one of the first cases that the organisation was involved in followed the infamous Secret Service raid on the offices and computers of a gaming company, Steve Jackson Games.
Since that time, the EFF has been involved in many high profile cases in fight for civil liberties and freedom of expression; these cases included standing against Sony, Apple, Google and various departments of the US government. In all of these instances, and many more besides, the EFF has proven themselves to be the ‘first line of defense’ against those who would wish to undermine freedom of speech, privacy and consumer rights.
Because of the high-profile nature of many of their battles, the EFF has also become a go-to organisation for many press articles and stories – representing the voice of public interest and common good in order to avoid the erosion of civil liberties when it comes to online communication and expression.
The website deserves a mention not only because of the amazing work done by the organisation, but also because it is a great resource for those who wish to keep informed about these issues. Through press releases, detailed blog posts, news updates and other forms of communication the EFF website should be bookmarked by everybody who uses the internet on a regular basis.
The internet really is a testing ground for how the future of our civil rights and freedoms will play out as the world develops into a global technological future. Issues surrounding personal ownership of material and products, the right to anonymity, and the boundaries between government legislation and personal freedom are all pressing issues that could easily be taken down a path that erodes our ability for personal space and rights.
For the past twenty years the Electronic Frontier Foundation has been paying very close attention to any attempts to slowly chip away at these liberties; and one must wonder what would have already occurred had they not been there to fight for our rights. Even though most people haven’t heard of them, or only heard of them in passing, they have fought for your rights and the protection of your privacy and freedom of expression.
In fact, there are very few organisations out there who have as effectively and consistently done so – and the EFF stands strong when it comes to the creation of legal precedents that could have led us down some very dangerous and oppressive paths. Not only this, but the non-profit and activist nature of the organisation means that they have the capability to bring together tens of thousands of supporters when necessary to put pressure on policy makers when it comes to matters surrounding our rights online.
Make sure you visit the Electronic Frontier Foundation website and become familiar with their work, both past and present, because they truly deserve a lot of praise and credit for being their fighting on behalf of all of us when nobody else would.