You are here: > Resources > Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

Self Description

August 2007: "From the Internet to the iPod, technologies are transforming our society and empowering us as speakers, citizens, creators, and consumers. When our freedoms in the networked world come under attack, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is the first line of defense. EFF broke new ground when it was founded in 1990 — well before the Internet was on most people's radar — and continues to confront cutting-edge issues defending free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights today. From the beginning, EFF has championed the public interest in every critical battle affecting digital rights.

Blending the expertise of lawyers, policy analysts, activists, and technologists, EFF achieves significant victories on behalf of consumers and the general public. EFF fights for freedom primarily in the courts, bringing and defending lawsuits even when that means taking on the US government or large corporations. By mobilizing more than 50,000 concerned citizens through our Action Center, EFF beats back bad legislation. In addition to advising policymakers, EFF educates the press and public. Sometimes just defending technologies isn't enough, so EFF also supports the development of freedom-enhancing inventions.

EFF is a donor-funded nonprofit and depends on your support to continue successfully defending your digital rights. Litigation is particularly expensive; because two-thirds of our budget comes from individual donors, every contribution is critical to helping EFF fight —and win—more cases."

September 2001: Based in San Francisco, EFF is a donor-supported membership organization working to protect our fundamental rights regardless of technology; to educate the press, policymakers and the general public about civil liberties issues related to technology; and to act as a defender of those liberties.

Third-Party Descriptions

December 2013: "Similar legal challenges to the N.S.A. program, including by the American Civil Liberties Union and the advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation, are at earlier stages in the courts. Last month, the Supreme Court declined to hear an unusual challenge to the program by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which had sought to bypass lower courts."

August 2013: "The question of whether the government can force a suspect to decrypt hard drives was thrust into the limelight earlier this year when federal authorities suspected a Wisconsin man of downloading child pornography from the file-sharing network e-Donkey. One federal judge ordered the defendant to decrypt as many as nine hard drives seized from the suspect’s suburban Milwaukee apartment. Another judge put that decision on hold to analyze the implications of whether the demand breached the Fifth Amendment right against compelled self incrimination."

October 2007: 'Kurt Opsahl, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said: "It's inappropriate for the government to be awarding a contract conditioned upon an agreement to an illegal program. That truly is what's going on here."'

May 2013: 'Some industry experts say consumers should have the right to modify their phones’ identification features to avoid being tracked. The right to change the identification is a “pro-privacy measure,” said Seth Schoen, a senior staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation,...'

March 2013: "The EFF has also come out swinging against CAS. The group says the system presents a number of troubling statements that don’t just hurt Internet users but the Internet for itself. For instance, the group points out that the CCI Web site tells people to lock down their Wi-Fi connections so others don’t pirate on your connection. The EFF sees this as an attack on the open Wi-Fi movement and it would be especially troublesome for those who do share their Internet connections with others, like small businesses."

July 2012: "When WikiLeaks made its first big media appearance by publishing tens of thousands of top-secret diplomatic cables in 2010, we argued the group headed by controversial front man Julian Assange was a media entity, albeit an unusual one. The broader implications of this status extend far beyond the question of whether we support the organization or its motives: As a blog post at the Electronic Frontier Foundation points out, threats aimed at WikiLeaks are by implication also threats to any other media outlet that dares to publish government information. And some members of Congress say they want to make this connection explicit by changing laws so that journalists can also be sanctioned."

January 2012: 'Jillian C. York, director for international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group, successfully tried this herself after Twitter announced its new approach. “Unfortunately it is a necessary evil when offering a service in certain countries,” Ms. York said of the new system.'

December 2011: "Hanni Fakhoury, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, based in San Francisco, which filed a brief in support of the defendant’s motion to dismiss the case, said he was heartened by the distinction that the judge drew between speech on a public platform, versus through e-mail or telephone."

June 2011: "EFF has designed this guide to help you understand your rights if officers try to search the data stored on your computer or portable electronic device, or seize it for further examination somewhere else."

May 2011: '"We have always had to completely trust our platform/operating system vendor," Chris Palmer, the technology director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group, wrote in an e-mail. "It will always be that way."'

February 2011: 'Many Web sites offer some support for encryption via “https,” but they make it difficult to use. To address these problems, the Electronic Frontier Foundation in collaboration with the Tor Project, another group concerned with Internet privacy, released in June an add-on to the browser Firefox, called Https Everywhere. The extension, which can be downloaded at, makes “https” the stubbornly unchangeable default on all sites that support it.'

December 2010: '“There is tremendous concern about the climate of fear and uncertainty this is going to create,” said Peter Eckersley of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group. “It’s a troubling situation where basically any Web site that the Department of Homeland Security doesn’t like and is convinced has too much infringing material on it can just disappear overnight.”'

December 2010: 'The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group that advocates for Internet freedom of speech by defending court cases, said the axing certainly doesn't violate the First Amendment. But it is, according to senior staff attorney Kevin Bankston, "disappointing."'

May 2010: "Even without cookies, popular browsers such as Internet Explorer and Firefox give Web sites enough information to get a unique picture of their visitors about 94 percent of the time, according to research compiled over the past few months by the Electronic Frontier Foundation."

May 2010: 'There was an exemption from the disclosure requirements for what was called “operational” (defined as “a purpose reasonably necessary for the operation” of the company) or “transactional” (defined as “a purpose necessary for effecting, administering or enforcing” a transaction between company and customer). Those exceptions were “troubling,” said Peter Eckersley, senior staff technologist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, one of these groups.'

April 2010: "No one has answered the question. I take the silence on this to mean that the answer is Yes, given the evidence of earlier Apple behavior plus the publication of an iPad application-developer agreement obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a document that revealed control-freakery by Apple on a stunning level."

March 2010: "Technologists at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who are working on a proposal to fix this whole problem, say hackers can use similar techniques to steal your money or your passwords. In that case, attackers are more likely to trick a Certificate Authority into issuing a certificate, a point driven home last year when two security researchers demonstrated how they could get certificates for any domain on the internet simply by using a special character in a domain name."

February 2010: "Freiwald, the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Center for Democracy and Technology filed briefs saying that the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment provides Americans with at least some privacy protections that shield their whereabouts from police not armed with search warrants. The civil liberties groups also said that current law gives judges the flexibility to require search warrants based on probable cause."

July 2009: "Three advocacy groups have asked Google to commit to protect the privacy of readers in its book search service, which is poised for a major expansion under a pending class-action settlement. The groups, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, have asked Google to limit the data it collects about users’ reading habits, to commit to protect reader records by handing them over only in response to subpoenas or court orders, and to put into effect measures giving users control of their data."

July 2009: "California's new pay-as-you-drive plan has all kinds of consumer and environmental benefits, but privacy advocates like the EFF are concerned that drivers will end up forced into allowing Orwellian tracking of location and driving styles. What kind of balance should be struck between privacy and efficiency?"

November 2008: "The ACLU ‘s lawsuit, Amnesty vs. Mukasey is likely to have its first hearing sometime in January, while the constitutionality of retroactive amnesty for the government’s spying partners will be argued Tuesday in the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s suit against AT&T."

November 2008: "This summer, however, the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the Justice Department, seeking documents related to the FBI's cell-phone tracking practices. Since August, they've received a stream of documents—the most recent batch on November 6—that were posted on the Internet last week. In a post on the progressive blog Daily Kos, ACLU spokesperson Rachel Myers drew attention to language in several of those documents implying that triggerfish have broader application than previously believed."

August 2008: 'Marcia Hoffman, staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital-rights group that is assisting the MIT team with its defense, argues that researchers need to be protected as they investigate these types of flaws. "It's extremely rare for a court to bar anyone from speaking before that person has even had a chance to speak," she says. "We think this sets a terrible precedent that's very dangerous for security research."'

August 2008: "Instead, the scrappy San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation now says that it will expand its efforts and sue the government over the spy program that operated outside of the court system for more than six years."

July 2008: 'A federal judge has ordered Google to turn over to Viacom its records of which users watched which videos on YouTube....“Users should have the right to challenge and contest the production of this deeply private information,” said Kurt Opsahl, senior staff lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an online civil liberties group.'

June 2008: '...Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress struck a deal on Thursday to overhaul the rules on the government’s wiretapping powers and provide what amounts to legal immunity to the phone companies that took part in President Bush’s program of eavesdropping without warrants after the Sept. 11 attacks....“No matter how they spin it, this is still immunity,” said Kevin Bankston, a senior lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a pro-privacy group that is a plaintiff suing over the wiretapping program.'

February 2008: "[a judge] denied granting a default judgment, writing that the record labels failed to show Brennan was actually distributing copies of songs, which he said is what is against the law....In the Brennan case, it remains to be seen whether the record labels have information that would satisfy the court, wrote Fred von Lohmann, senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation..."

February 2008: "Today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Asian Law Caucus, two civil liberties groups in San Francisco, plan to file a lawsuit to force the government to disclose its policies on border searches, including which rules govern the seizing and copying of the contents of electronic devices. They also want to know the boundaries for asking travelers about their political views, religious practices and other activities potentially protected by the First Amendment. The question of whether border agents have a right to search electronic devices at all without suspicion of a crime is already under review in the federal courts."

December 2007: "“People get pushed into settlements,” said Fred von Lohmann, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group. “The Oregon attorney general is showing what a real fight among equals would look like.”"

August 2007: Many of the details of the [DCSNet] system and its full capabilities were redacted from the documents acquired by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, but they show that DCSNet includes at least three collection components, each running on Windows-based computers.

August 2007: Failure to ensure data privacy is a problem that has torpedoed other counterterror programs, says Lee Tien, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy advocacy group..

May 2007: When government officials will not discuss what the uses and data sources are, it is hard to know whether travelers have been harmed by the screening program, said David Sobel, senior counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which in December sued the government under the Freedom of Information Act for disclosure on the Automated Targeting System, which Customs uses to screen for high-risk travelers.

January 2007: EFF opposes Apple's discovery because the confidentiality of the media's sources and unpublished information are critical means for journalists of all stripes to acquire information and communicate it to the public. Because today's online journalists frequently depend on confidential sources to gather material, their ability to promise confidentiality is essential to maintaining the strength of independent media. Furthermore, the protections required by the First Amendment are necessary regardless of whether the journalist uses a third party for communications.

April 2007: 'There are a lot of businesses that depend on making [digital] copies in order to index, or make things searchable, or create filters, or [perform] matching. All of these kinds of things today are valuable and in high demand,' says Fred von Lohmann, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. 'You'll see a lot more cases involving indexing copy.'

April 2007: 'I don't see why the recording industry shouldn't have to follow the same laws that everyone else follows,' said Fred von Lohmann, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group in San Francisco. 'It appears they want to make the loophole so big that nobody else has to follow the law, either.',1,1936238.story

December 2006: The controversy over ATS erupted after privacy advocates at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) found an obscure notice about it in the Federal Register last month. In the notice, which is required under the 1974 Privacy Act, DHS says that its data collection system 'does not identify or create any new collection of information, rather DHS is providing additional notice and transparency of the functionality of these systems.'

October 2006: David Sobel, senior counsel of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy organization, said that since Sept. 11, the U.S. government has put an emphasis on the collection of passenger data and has 'generally ignored the serious privacy issues that arise both under E.U. law and domestic law.'

December 2005: But Media Post's Wendy Davis also describes Warner/Chappell Music's back down after the Electronic Frontier Foundation pressured the organization to apologize to pearlLyrics. ‘pealLyrics distributed a software that allowed iPod users to add lyrics along side of downloaded songs.

August 2006: Mr. Bankston’s group, which is spearheading a class-action lawsuit against AT&T for sharing consumer phone records with the National Security Agency, issued an alert this week calling the AOL incident a “Data Valdez,” asserting that it may be in violation of the Electronic Communications and Privacy Act, which regulates some forms of online communications.

February 2005: A few weeks ago we saw[1] how three major software publishers and three major software retailers had quietly agreed to give customers more open access to EULA terms before they buy a product. Just yesterday came another development to which I'd like to draw your attention. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) published its first white paper[2] on the EULA issue, "Dangerous Terms - A User's Guide to EULAs." It's a document that, along with providing a valuable resource for consumers who run afoul of sneakwrap terms, also serves as something of a call-to-arms.

September 2004: "Formalities -- especially registration and renewal -- have historically been a part of the copyright law since the beginning," said Jason Schultz, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "The registration and renewal served the purpose of a balance in copyright law and it's a balance that's required by the constitution.",1284,64494,00.html


RoleNameTypeLast Updated
Opponent (past or present) AT&T Organization Aug 12, 2006
Opponent (past or present) Center for Copyright Information (CCI) Organization Mar 3, 2013
Owner of (partial or full, past or present) Chilling Effects Clearinghouse Source Jan 8, 2004
Owner of (partial or full, past or present) Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Source
Opponent (past or present) Facebook Organization May 27, 2010
Employee/Contractor/Fellow/Freelancer (past or present) John Perry Barlow Person
Director/Trustee/Overseer (past or present) Denise Caruso Person Apr 14, 2007
Organization Executive (past or present) Cindy Cohn Esq. Person Nov 30, 2005
Director/Trustee/Overseer (past or present) Prof. David J. Farber Person Dec 4, 2006
Director/Trustee/Overseer (past or present) Prof. David "Dave" J. Farber Person
Founded/Co-Founded by Director/Trustee/Overseer (past or present) John Gilmore Person Dec 9, 2005
Organization Executive (past or present) Mike Godwin Person May 14, 2005
Employee/Contractor/Fellow/Freelancer (past or present) Prof. James Grimmelmann Esq. Person Oct 7, 2009
Employee/Contractor/Fellow/Freelancer (past or present) Robin Gross Person
Employee/Contractor/Fellow/Freelancer (past or present) Mark M. Jaycox Person Aug 17, 2013
Director/Trustee/Overseer (past or present) Prof. Lawrence Lessig Esq. Person Aug 13, 2007
Advised by (past or present) Prof. Eben Moglen Esq. Person Jan 21, 2006
Employee/Contractor/Fellow/Freelancer (past or present) Annalee Newitz Person Feb 22, 2005
Employee/Contractor/Fellow/Freelancer (past or present) Kurt Opsahl Esq. Person Jul 7, 2013
Organization Executive (past or present) Rainey Reitman Person May 31, 2014
Employee/Contractor/Fellow/Freelancer (past or present) Prof. Wendy Seltzer Esq. Person Feb 18, 2007
Employee/Contractor/Fellow/Freelancer (past or present) Harvey A. Silverglate Esq. Person Feb 17, 2006
Organization Executive (past or present) David L. Sobel Esq. Person Oct 1, 2006
Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Shari Steele Person
Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Brad Templeton Person
Employee/Contractor/Fellow/Freelancer (past or present) Trevor Timm Esq. Person Jul 26, 2012
Organization Executive (past or present) Jillian C. York Person Jan 28, 2012
Employee/Contractor/Fellow/Freelancer (past or present) Fred von Lohmann Esq. Person Feb 6, 2006

Articles and Resources

123 Articles and Resources. Go to:  [Next 20]   [End]

Date Resource Read it at:
Dec 16, 2013 Judge Questions Legality of N.S.A. Phone Records

QUOTE: A federal district judge ruled on Monday that the National Security Agency program that is systematically keeping records of all Americans’ phone calls most likely violates the Constitution, describing its technology as “almost Orwellian” and suggesting that James Madison would be “aghast” to learn that the government was encroaching on liberty in such a way.

New York Times
Aug 27, 2013 Feds Back Away From Forced Decryption … For Now

QUOTE: Federal prosecutors have formally dropped demands that a child-porn suspect give up his encryption keys in a closely watched case, but experts warn the issue of forced decryption is very much alive....[an appellate court] eventually found the decryption order breached the Fifth Amendment right against being compelled to testify against oneself.

May 01, 2013 Cellphone Thefts Grow, but the Industry Looks the Other Way

QUOTE: new nationwide database for stolen cellphones, which tracks a phone’s unique identifying number to prevent it from being activated, theoretically discouraging thefts. But police officials say the database has not helped....Some law enforcement authorities, though, say there is a bigger issue — that carriers and handset makers have little incentive to fix the problem.

New York Times
Mar 01, 2013 Will the “Six Strikes” Copyright Alert System Hurt Consumers And Small Businesses?

QUOTE: On Monday, the Copyright Alert System, or “Six Strikes”, went into affect across the five biggest ISPs in the U.S. The system hopes to catch those pirating content over P2P networks, and send them a notice detailing their infringement. The hope is that those who are caught will start using legal alternatives. To better understand the CAS, we have to look at what the Center for Copyright Information is doing with it. First, there are three tiers to the CAS that consumers should be aware of with each tier having two levels within it. The three tiers are as follows – educational alerts, acknowledgement alerts and mitigation measures.

Jul 24, 2012 First they came for Wikileaks, then the New York Times

QUOTE: There are signs that the U.S. government wants to target mainstream journalists and media outlets for the same kind of investigation that WikiLeaks has been subjected to for publishing classified information, which makes it even more important to defend WikiLeaks’ status as a media entity.

Jan 27, 2012 Censoring of Tweets Sets Off #Outrage

QUOTE: [Twitter] became a bullhorn for millions of people worldwide, especially vital in nations that tend to muzzle their own people. But this week, in a sort of coming-of-age moment, Twitter announced that upon request, it would block certain messages in countries where they were deemed illegal. The move immediately prompted outcry, argument and even calls for a boycott from some users.

New York Times
Dec 15, 2011 Judge Dismisses Twitter Stalking Case

QUOTE: a federal judge on Thursday dismissed a criminal case against a man accused of stalking a religious leader on Twitter, saying that the Constitution protects “uncomfortable” speech on such bulletin-boardlike sites.

New York Times
Jun 01, 2011 Know Your Rights!

QUOTE: The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects you from unreasonable government searches and seizures, and this protection extends to your computer and portable devices. But how does this work in the real world? What should you do if the police or other law enforcement officers show up at your door and want to search your computer? EFF has designed this guide to help you understand your rights...

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
May 12, 2011 Why gadget makers wield a 'kill switch'

QUOTE: When you buy a video game from Best Buy, you don't give the retailer the right to barge into your house whenever it wants. So why do we give that permission to software companies? Most popular smartphone operating systems and other electronic gadgets include what security researchers refer to as a kill switch. This capability enables the company that makes the operating software to send a command over the Web or wireless networks that alters or removes certain applications from devices.

CNN (Cable News Network)
Apr 06, 2011 An Attack Sheds Light on Internet Security Holes

QUOTE: Governments that control certificate authorities and hackers who break into their systems can issue certificates for any site at will.

New York Times
Mar 04, 2011 Hacked e-mails show Web is increasingly useful tool in dirty-tricks campaigns

QUOTE: But many experts say the shadowy political intelligence business has become larger and more sophisticated as corporations, trade groups and political parties increasingly turn to computer sleuths to monitor and, in some cases, harass their detractors. The work almost always goes undetected and has been made easier with the rise of computer networks and social media sites with relatively lax safeguards.

Washington Post
Feb 16, 2011 New Hacking Tools Pose Bigger Threats to Wi-Fi Users

QUOTE: But some simple software lets just about anyone sitting next to you at your local coffee shop watch you browse the Web and even assume your identity online... But a free program called Firesheep, released in October, has made it simple to see what other users of an unsecured Wi-Fi network are doing and then log on as them at the sites they visited.

New York Times
Dec 19, 2010 Music Web Sites Dispute Legality of Their Closing

QUOTE: federal authorities shut down five Web sites last month on suspicion of copyright infringement, they gave no warning and offered no details of their investigation... the operators of several of the sites said in interviews that they were innocent of infringement, and criticized the investigation for misrepresenting how their sites worked.

New York Times
Dec 01, 2010 How Lieberman Got Amazon To Drop Wikileaks

QUOTE: [Amazon's] terms of acceptable use include a ban on illegal activities (it's not yet clear whether Wikileaks has broken any laws) and content "that may be harmful to our users, operations, or reputation." It also prohibits using Amazon's servers "to violate the security or integrity of any network, computer or communications system," although Wikileaks obviously obtained the cables long before hopping on Amazon's servers.

Talking Points Memo (TPM)
May 18, 2010 EFF: Forget cookies, your browser has fingerprints

QUOTE: Even without cookies, popular browsers such as Internet Explorer and Firefox give Web sites enough information to get a unique picture of their visitors about 94 percent of the time, according to research compiled over the past few months by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

May 04, 2010 Consumer Groups Say Proposed Privacy Bill Is Flawed

QUOTE: Consumer groups have been fighting what they see as the prevalence of online tracking....Industry groups, while arguing that free Internet content depends on this type of sophisticated advertising, have issued their own self-regulatory principles.

New York Times
Apr 08, 2010 Complicating Relationships in Media: Apple, NY Times Dealings Raise Questions

QUOTE: By appearing on stage at the Apple event and by launching an iPad app that the Times wants to monetize in every possible way — an app from which Apple will likely make money as well — the Times is becoming more of a business partner with a company it covers incessantly.

Mar 24, 2010 Law Enforcement Appliance Subverts SSL

QUOTE: Normally when a user visits a secure website, such as Bank of America, Gmail, PayPal or eBay, the browser examines the website’s certificate to verify its authenticity. At a recent wiretapping convention however, security researcher Chris Soghoian discovered that a small company was marketing internet spying boxes to the feds designed to intercept those communications, without breaking the encryption, by using forged security certificates, instead of the real ones that websites use to verify secure connections.

Feb 13, 2010 Justice Dept. defends warrantless cell phone tracking

QUOTE: The FBI and other police agencies don't need to obtain a search warrant to learn the locations of Americans' cell phones, the U.S. Department of Justice told a federal appeals court in Philadelphia on Friday.

Oct 09, 2009 Against Transparency: The perils of openness in government.

QUOTE: More information,[from greater government transparency]" as [Archon] Fung and his colleagues put it, "does not always produce markets that are more efficient." Instead, "responses to information are inseparable from their interests, desires, resources, cognitive capacities, and social contexts..."

New Republic, The (TNR)

123 Articles and Resources. Go to:  [Next 20]   [End]