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EFF's international team advocates for privacy, free speech, and an open Internet in international venues and across the world. We expose mass and unwarranted surveillance, and educate unlawfully targeted users on how to protect themselves and their colleagues. We use individual cases globally to highlight the effect of technology on human rights, and defend technologists from persecution and detention wherever they live.

Ensuring users' voices are heard in global policymaking

Internet users are impacted not only by rules and policies made in their own country, but those made around the world. EFF's international team fights to make sure that Internet users are heard in these processes. They include copyright treaties developed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), trade agreements such as the now-defeated Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), domain name policies developed by ICANN, and increasingly, a shadowy web of cross-border industry agreements forged in corporate backrooms.

Where international bodies lack an adequate rights-based framework for their deliberations, EFF also works to fill the gap by developing global principles such as the Manila Principles for Intermediary Liability and the Necessary and Proportionate principles. We use these to promote users' rights on the global stage in bodies such as the United Nations General Assembly, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

Fighting unchecked surveillance laws and norms

We fight laws and treaties that seek to legitimize mass surveillance and weaken civil liberties and transparency. We work to spotlight privacy violations throughout the world and defend against influential governments seeking to increase law enforcement and intelligence agencies’ power. EFF fends off proposals for mandatory data retention, wiretapping-friendly legislation, national identity schemes, biometrics initiatives, and invasive location tracking. EFF works with digital rights organizations around the globe to fight for privacy, and  pressure telecommunications companies to protect the privacy of their customers.

Exposing Institutional Censorship

EFF recognizes that much of today’s free expression takes place on corporate platforms, which apply their own rules and are subject to the legal requirements of different jurisdictions. While in recent years most major companies have produced transparency reports that show content takedowns made at the behest of government actors, there is little to no transparency regarding takedowns made on the basis of terms of service. Furthermore, companies often prohibit certain legal content, such as nudity.

We encourage social media companies to operate with greater transparency and accountability. To that end, we partner with Visualizing Impact on Onlinecensorship.org, which collects reports from users in an effort to shine a light on content takedowns. We also regularly advocate for companies to make policy changes, particularly when their policies result in discriminatory practices.

Protecting vulnerable populations from digital attacks

EFF works to protect vulnerable populations from digital attacks. We seek to compensate for the asymmetry between powerful attackers and  targets who do not necessarily have a strong, technical understanding of digital security or a team of experts at their disposal. We research the threats that these populations face, such as state-sponsored malware.  We raise awareness of digital privacy and security issues through our Surveillance Self-Defense project and conduct security trainings based on these materials. We also defend the rights of security researchers through our work on export controls and EFF's Coders Rights Project. so that these researchers can continue to contribute to the safety and security of vulnerable populations.

Defending Technologists and Censored Voices Across The World

Throughout its history, EFF has defended those who have been unfairly targeted with prosecution and detention simply because they used technology to exercise their civil liberties. With our Offline project, EFF seeks to highlight the international cases of individuals who have used technology to speak out against abuse, or have built and shared technology that protects or extends human rights, and have been imprisoned as a result. We work with the communities that support these prisoners of conscience, draw attention to their predicament, and work for their release.

International Highlights

Shadow Regulation

Shadow Regulations are voluntary agreements between companies (sometimes described as codes, principles, standards, or guidelines) to regulate your use of the Internet, often without your knowledge. Shadow Regulation has become increasingly popular after the monumental failure of restrictive Internet laws such as ACTA, SOPA and PIPA. This is...
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Digital Privacy at the U.S. Border: Protecting the Data On Your Devices and In the Cloud

Digital Privacy at the U.S. Border:Protecting the Data On Your Devices and In the Cloudby Sophia Cope, Amul Kalia, Seth Schoen, and Adam SchwartzDownload the report as a PDF.EXECUTIVE SUMMARYأفادت الحكومة الأمريكية أن عدد حالات تفحص المحتويات الالكترونية على الحدود قد إزداد بمقدار خمسة أضعاف خلال سنة واحدة فقط،...

International Updates

¿Quién defiende tus datos?

¿Quién Defiende Tus Datos?: Four Years Setting The Bar for Privacy Protections in Latin America and Spain

Four years have passed since our partners first published Who Defends Your Data (¿Quién Defiende Tus Datos?), a report that holds ISPs accountable for their privacy policies and processes in eight Latin America countries and Spain. Since then, we’ve seen major technology companies providing more transparency about how and...

Secret Court Rules That the FBI’s “Backdoor Searches” of Americans Violated the Fourth Amendment

But the Court Misses the Larger Problem: Section 702’s Mass Surveillance is Inherently Unconstitutional EFF has long maintained that it is impossible to conduct mass surveillance and still protect the privacy and constitutional rights of innocent Americans, much less the human rights of innocent people around the world. This week...
China Spying

中國的全球觸角:超越防火長城的監控和審查制度

Translator: Participants of Oct. 2019 Coffee and Circumvention @ Taipei.Translation coordinator: Open Culture Foundation譯者:2019.10 網路自由小聚參與者 對於身處於中華人民共和國(People’s Republic of China, PRC,以下稱中國)國境之外的人們來說,中國式的網路審查並不陌生,也就是透過國內網絡、藉由「防火長城」來進行,這個系統能夠透過監控、封鎖的技術來阻止中國公民瀏覽牆外的網站。中國政府認為架設防火長城符合「網絡主權」的概念,理由正當。中華人民共和國長久以來皆如此宣示:「在中國境內,網際網路是中國主權管轄的範圍。」 而香港,在一國兩制下,得以置身於防火長城之外,來自外國的數位服務如推特 (Twitter)、谷歌 (Google) 和臉書 (Facebook) 在香港可以正常運作,香港在地的網路服務供應商也公開表示反對國家審查網路。 然而隨著香港示威抗議運動持續升溫,中國開始毫不掩飾越過國境,將其觸角延伸到防火長城以外,在全球輿論空間不斷干擾、詆毀反送中運動。當中國以全世界為場域,試圖噤聲牆外的抗爭消息時,中國向全世界展示了它的能耐,展露其消弭異議和批評之聲的工具。 其中一些手段,像是對私人企業施壓(例如 : 美國運動公司 NBA 和遊戲公司暴雪)登上了美國頭條新聞,激怒這些公司的客戶和員工。 另一些手段則更有技巧,對西方觀察家來說不那麼顯而易見。 瞄準牆外網站的「大砲」大炮」 (Great Cannon) 是一套大規模的技術系統,透過設立在中國的網路服務供應商,在進行網路審查的同時,一併把攻擊用的 Javascript 程式碼,在不安全的 ...

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