Notes from the Fight Against Surveillance and Censorship: 2014 in Review
In recent years, we’ve seen a dramatic, global surge in attempts to censor and surveil users worldwide. Nevertheless, in the face of such threats, I find myself energized and awed by our growing movement. In the past year, we've seen the whole community become more organized, resourceful, and more creative than ever before. While these are long fights, we're in them for the long run. And right now, I think we’re bringing some of the very best to the protection of digital civil liberties.
Thanks to EFF members, friends, and allies, we fought—and are on the brink of winning—the most significant battle for net neutrality in a decade. Working with partners across the country and the globe, we helped galvanize over 3 million people to speak out in defense of an open Internet.
We also saw global outrage turn to action in our efforts rein in NSA surveillance abuses. Our legal challenges to mass surveillance are garnering increased worldwide attention and seeing movement in the courts, while Congress considered multiple reform bills and is poised to address one of the most controversial sections of the Patriot Act in 2015. We kept the pressure up through activism campaigns at home and abroad, including our first-ever aerial activism campaign—an airship over the NSA data center.
This year, we also saw renewed attempts to abuse intellectual property laws to jeopardize the flow of information and creativity online. One striking example came in Garcia v. Google, where an actor succeeded (for now) in taking down a controversial video by claiming copyright on her 5-second performance; we’re working to convince the courts just how dangerous this precedent could be. We were disappointed to see hard-fought patent reform derailed by political dealings, but have seen a Supreme Court ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank used to challenge some of the lowest-quality software patents.
We’re also continuing our efforts to encrypt as much of the web as possible through EFF technical projects like HTTPS Everywhere and Let’s Encrypt. We’re helping to protect online privacy with Privacy Badger, an add-on to ward off online trackers, and Surveillance Self-Defense, an extensive toolkit to teach technology users how to use encryption and resist government surveillance.
If this work resonates with you, and you’d like to help us continue defending user rights and liberty as our world becomes ever more digital, please make a donation. Financial support from individuals forms a key pillar of EFF’s strength, and our community anchors the world’s growing passion for law, technology, and values that serve the people.
To the more than 22,000 EFF members and hundreds of thousands of EFF action takers: thank you for another amazing year. Please continue to fight by our side in 2015 and beyond.
Below you can find a series of articles revisiting watershed moments in 2014. Check back soon; we’ll keep adding more articles till the new year. You also can follow our series by subscribing to EFF on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus.