March 23, 2016 | By Shahid Buttar

Launching the Electronic Frontier Alliance

We're excited to announce the formation of a new grassroots network, the Electronic Frontier Alliance. Bringing together community and campus organizations across the U.S., the Alliance will serve as an increasingly vital hub for activism and organizing addressing a spectrum of civil liberties and digital rights issues.

The Alliance will bring together groups pursuing a range of strategies and tactics—from hacker spaces crowdsourcing the open source development of software tools, to student groups hosting teach-ins and documentary screenings. They will be united by five substantive principles:

  1. free expression: people should be able to speak their minds to whomever will listen.

  2. security: technology should be trustworthy and answer to its users.

  3. privacy: technology should allow private and anonymous speech, and allow users to set their own parameters about what to share with whom.

  4. creativity: technology should promote progress by allowing people to build on the ideas, creations, and inventions of others.

  5. access to knowledge: curiosity should be rewarded, not stifled.

Some EFA member groups—like Penn for Privacy—will be new campus organizations coming together to engage students and young people. Others—like the Oakland Privacy Working Group—will be the product of longstanding community organizing initiatives.

We welcome organizations pursuing a wide range of interests to endorse the principles, which relate to fundamental rights necessary to many forms of advocacy. We anticipate participation from diverse movements such as Occupy, the Tea Party, Black Lives Matter, and the movements for immigrant rights, drug policy reform, peace and justice, gun rights, and others.

Many participants in these movements recognize the importance of digital rights in securing their own objectives. Indeed, digital rights are increasingly necessary to enable the intellectual freedom at the very heart of a democratic society.

Activities coordinated across the EFA will span a wide spectrum. Groups just starting to establish a presence in their respective communities might begin by tabling at public events, circulating petitions to identify initial supporters, and hosting public discussions. Others that are more well established may work to actively impact the public discussion in a variety of ways, from writing op-eds and letters-to-the-editor for local newspapers to meeting with legislators. Many will promote digital rights through social media campaigns, and some may organize creative visual stunts or organize demonstrations and public debates.

Any organization that endorses the five principles uniting the Alliance is eligible to apply for membership and participation. To join the Alliance, start here.


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