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New technologies are radically advancing our freedoms, but they are also enabling unparalleled invasions of privacy. National and international laws have yet to catch up with the evolving need for privacy that comes with new digital technologies. Respect for individuals' autonomy, anonymous speech, and the right to free association must be balanced against legitimate concerns like law enforcement. EFF fights in the courts and Congress to extend your privacy rights into the digital world, and works with partners around the globe to support the development of privacy-protecting technologies.

Your cell phone helps you keep in touch with friends and family, but it also makes it easier for security agencies to track your location.

Your Web searches about sensitive medical information might seem a secret between you and your search engine, but companies like Google are creating a treasure trove of personal information by logging your online activities, and making it potentially available to any party wielding enough cash or a subpoena.

And the next time you try to board a plane, watch out—you might be turned away after being mistakenly placed on a government watch list, or be forced to open your email in the security line.

Several governments have also chosen to use malware to engage in extra-legal spying or system sabotage for dissidents or non-citizens, all in the name of “national security.”

As privacy needs evolve, so too should our regulatory regimes. National governments must put legal checks in place to prevent abuse of state powers, and international bodies need to consider how a changing technological environment shapes security agencies’ best practices. Above all, we need to respect the rights of autonomy, anonymity, association, and expression that privacy makes possible, while also taking into account legitimate law enforcement concerns.

Read our work on privacy issues below, and join EFF to help support our efforts.

For information about the law and technology of government surveillance in the United States check out EFF's Surveillance Self-Defense project.

Privacy Highlights

NSA Spying

The US government, with assistance from major telecommunications carriers including AT&T, has engaged in massive, illegal dragnet surveillance of the domestic communications and communications records of millions of ordinary Americans since at least 2001. Since this was first reported on by the press and discovered by the public in late...

Privacy Updates

Understanding Public, Closed, and Secret Facebook Groups

There are as many different uses for Facebook groups as there are Facebook users, from sports leagues to alumni groups to community movements. No matter how you use Facebook groups, you may be sharing locations, planning events, and exchanging contact information that you would rather not broadcast to the entire...

NSA Reneges on Promise to Tell Congress How Many Innocent Americans it Spies On

Lawmakers should know how the laws they pass impact their constituents. That’s especially true when the law would reauthorize a vast Internet and telephone spying program that collects information about millions of law-abiding Americans. But that’s exactly what the Intelligence Community wants Congress to do when it considers reauthorizing a...
EFF Press Release

EFF Sues DOJ For Records on Procedures for Ending NSL Gag Orders

San Francisco, California—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued the Justice Department today to obtain records that can shed light on whether the FBI is complying with a Congressional mandate that it periodically review and lift National Security Letter (NSL) gag orders that are no longer needed. The FBI...
Do Not Track flag mounted on laptop

With New Browser Tech, Apple Preserves Privacy and Google Preserves Trackers

Recently Google and Apple announced plans to respond to complaints about online advertising. Both companies will implement changes to their browsers to neutralize some of the most annoying ad formats, but only Apple has chosen to address concerns around user privacy. Starting sometime in 2018, Google's Chrome browser will begin...

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