March 3, 2016 | By Shahid Buttar and Corynne McSherry

Putting digital rights in the spotlight in 2016

With a presidential election looming this fall, mass media and social media will be more focused on policy issues over the next several months than likely at any other point until 2020. We’ve put together a questionnaire for the candidates to invite them to explain their own policy platforms. We’ll let you know what they say, and in the meantime encourage others to ask these questions themselves at campaign events, fundraisers, town halls, or informal appearances.

As a tax-exempt non-profit organization, we are forbidden from endorsing or opposing any candidate for office, so to be clear: we think voters can and should make their own choices.  But we also think it's important for voters to know where the candidates stand on a variety of issues implicating digital rights, from the TPP to mass surveillance. These might not be the only issues that matter in choosing a candidate, but they are important to consider.

Here are a few questions that EFF is asking:


  • What are your views regarding the authority for domestic NSA surveillance under executive order 12333, which was announced in 1981 to authorize foreign intelligence collection but revealed in 2013 by a State Department whistleblower to have been frequently cited as a legal basis for secret domestic surveillance?


The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

    Open access

    • Through various departmental grant programs, our federal government funds billions of dollars’ worth of grants intended to benefit the public. Do you think that federally funded research, educational materials, and cultural works should be made freely available to the public? Why or why not?
    • What are your views regarding federal mandates requiring open licensing for federally funded content?


    • Looking forward, one of the most crucial digital freedom issues is: who will control the hardware in your home, in your pocket, and in your own body. Will you work to protect consumers' right to circumvent access controls on products they own and otherwise defend our freedom to tinker, repair, re-use and modify our stuff?
    • Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act forbids users from breaking DRM (digital rights management) on works subject to copyright, even if the purpose is a clearly lawful fair use. What are your views regarding reforms to address this issue?

    Patent reform


    • Under your administration, will there be consequences for intelligence officials who mislead Congress in response to direct questions at oversight hearings, or for agencies that misuse technology to cover up crimes, like when the CIA hacked into Congressional files to steal evidence of international human rights abuses?

    Deeplinks Topics

    Stay in Touch

    NSA Spying

    EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

    Follow EFF

    We're glad to see that adoption of HTTPS encryption has skyrocketed. h/t @PardonSnowden

    Oct 20 @ 12:42pm

    The Student Privacy Pledge stops short of fully protecting students and their information.

    Oct 20 @ 10:44am

    Snowden's effect on tech? People have adopted better security habits.

    Oct 20 @ 10:06am
    JavaScript license information