April 15, 2013 | By Dave Maass

The Eddy Street Era Begins

Since January 2001, EFF has defended digital rights from a Spartan converted warehouse in the Mission District of San Francisco. It was a red-brick bunker, brimming with memories and cardboard boxes of legal briefs, where a former AT&T technician once walked in off the street with documents revealing secret government eavesdropping operations. With ratty couches and walls covered in press clippings and tongue-in-cheek hacker propaganda, it's where we've made our stand, working sometimes from dawn until long after closing time at our favorite neighborhood bars.

Today, we start a new chapter in a new building in a new neighborhood. You might be wondering, why would EFF leave what Forbes described as America's second greatest hipster 'hood, with all its cultural charm and incredible take-out? To explain, let us invite you back in time to our last weekly staff meeting.

Be prepared to scroll.

These are the lucky people, or at least the smart ones who staked out their seats early:

The space formerly known as the "Tech Grotto."

Global Policy Analyst Maira Sutton is smiling because at least she scored a chair.

There isn't a fish-eye lens in the world that can capture the entire scene.

The spillover seats in the hallway are a drag.

Even Ace is feeling cramped.

"Anything going on this week?" EFF Executive Director Shari Steele asks.

Why, yes, there's something huge. The sardines are escaping the tin.

This cramped reality that has, for quite some time, been the norm for EFF as we have grown over the last 13 years. Finally, the week has arrived when we depart for a permanent home. But first we have to pack and clean:

A lot of packing, including artifacts like...

The folks charged with keeping EFF online got it the worst.
(That's Mark Burdett and Leez Wright.)

That brings us to now. Today it all pays off as we move into 815 Eddy Street just north of San Francisco's Civic Center. Behold: our new digital fortress (take that Dan Brown).

815 Eddy St.

This three-story building is ours: We bought it, removed the bullet-proof glass and cleaned out the hidden surveillance cameras (it used to be a Planned Parenthood office) and renovated the interior to create a space for innovation and collaboration, where passion will be compounded by attitude, and where we can all fit into one room. Plus, it's just a short six-minute jaunt to the federal courthouse, where we'll be continuing to push back against government secrecy and surveillance. Bonus: Bánh mi!

Let's step inside:

First, the third-floor conference room and common area, where we'll all be able to hear Shari.

Yes, the beloved red couch made the move. Those other benches are wheeled,  so we can configure the common rooms to meet the situation.

Is that a patio? Yes, hacker friend, it is. Sunlight is underrated.

Before long, we'l have murals in the stairwells of kittens that represent our core issues. This is a mock up of one by EFF staff designer Hugh D'Andrade (who, by the way, also starts back fulltime today).

There are those who say that this new building represents EFF moving from the college dorm to adulthood; we've stopped paying rent and invested in a permanent home. Suffice to say, our new building has a lot more space for meetings, collaborative projects, entertaining guests and overall creative workflow. It's a bastion that represents our permanence: We are the Electronic Frontier Foundation and we're not going anywhere.

Finally, for your gratification, here's a dizzying tour of the whole building as an animated gif.

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