These days it's easy to feel adrift from the people in your life. At times, physical distance alongside social and political unrest seems like a never-ending rising tide. It can feel overwhelming. We have felt it here at EFF, but thankfully during our 30th Anniversary, EFF's purpose has never been more clear. EFF's members have shown that even through the worst of times, we will still come together to fight against police surveillance, defend the use of strong encryption, and protect our rights to free speech on the Internet (to name just a few of this year's biggest battles).

EFF members didn't skip a beat and proved the strength of their numbers this year. Last spring, the EFF membership team was tasked with planning the first-ever virtual Members' Speakeasy. Despite being an organization whose entire purpose is to fight for digital rights, we had to climb a steep learning curve to throw a successful program in virtual space! Thankfully, our members showed that they are ready and willing to fight for our mission, joining a live workshop to research and collect data about American police surveillance technologies. This event helped launch our Atlas of Surveillance database, which aims to raise awareness about the surveillance technologies that law enforcement agencies have in your neighborhood.

Atlas of Surveillance

It doesn't stop there. July 10th marked EFF's 30th Anniversary of supporting you in the fight for a better digital future. We knew that we wanted to do something big. To mark the occasion, EFF presented a seven-hour live-streamed event that included: DJ performances, our first EFF30 Fireside chat discussing the future of encryption, video game streams, and even our 4th Annual Tech Trivia where viewers could test the limits of their nerdiness with the contestants. This anniversary stream was bigger and more fun than we could have ever imagined. We're grateful to EFF's members for showing up for the Internet and celebrating with us—even in cyberspace.

The summer is one of EFF's busiest times of year with staff members at hacker conferences including HOPE, BSides Las Vegas, Black Hat USA, and DEF CON. In fact, the passionate supporters at these events can raise the money to literally fund one EFF lawyer and one activist for a year. Even without the typical throngs of people crowding the meeting halls of New York and Las Vegas, EFF supporters rose to the challenge of keeping our team going strong.

EFF launched a limited-edition DEF CON member t-shirt online for the first time, featuring an appropriately glitched-out version of the globe with a pop-up menu asking to reboot 2020. This t-shirt also included EFF's hardest-ever hidden puzzle (Seriously. Try it!). We're in awe of the incredible support from members during these conferences, and we're thankful for the chance to connect with so many virtually. It was an important reminder that we're not alone, and that we'll find strength in each other.

DEF CON Error 2020

Now as 2020 comes to a close, people around the world continue showing their support for digital rights. We have relied on digital connections more than ever this year, and it has brought dangerous currents—like surveillance, censorship, lack of digital access, and much more—closer to the surface. That makes EFF's mission to preserve our online privacy, security, and free expression rights crucial.

Thank you to all of the EFF members who joined forces with us and kept the fight for Internet freedom strong during this challenging year. Our successes are only possible with help from people just like you. If you haven't joined EFF yet, now is a great time to do it!

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This article is part of our Year in Review series. Read other articles about the fight for digital rights in 2020.