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EFF defends your ability to use the Internet as a platform for free expression through law, technology, and activism. The Internet has radically enhanced our access to information in countless ways, and empowered anyone to share ideas and connect with the entire world. Yet while speech is invited and empowered on the electronic frontier, it is also sometimes threatened.

Freed of the limitations inherent in traditional print or broadcast media created—and constrained—by corporate gatekeepers, speech thrives online. Social networking websites allow groups of a dozen friends to grow into massive communities that transcend national borders. Meanwhile, community journalists have used microblogging and video live-streaming to expose the world to stories that long went unheard. Websites like Wikipedia and the Internet Archive have pioneered an open-source model of sharing and preserving information.

On the other hand, speech is also threatened online. Coders and developers risk criminal penalties for practicing the kind of digital tinkering, repair, and exploration that enable innovation. Similarly, dissidents and activists, especially those whose opinions may be unpopular where they live, confront chilling effects imposed by government surveillance programs that constrain their freedom of expression. Journalists and researchers can also be stymied by government agencies that limit public access to certain information.

The technological capacity enabling even great wonders can mean little when users are denied legal protections for their creativity. Without sufficient legal protections for users and innovators, it's all too easy for governments and companies to undermine your rights. Learn more below and consider supporting our efforts.

Free Speech Highlights

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

47 U.S.C. § 230, a Provision of the Communication Decency Act Tucked inside the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 is one of the most valuable tools for protecting freedom of expression and innovation on...

Free Speech Updates

I Can't Let You Do That, Dave

It has been 25 years since the Electronic Frontier Foundation was founded to ensure the civil liberties that mattered in the real world followed us into the online world, and it has been a heady quarter-century, with many significant victories, and we have learned some alarming, important lessons on the way.

Facebook, Twitter pressured to do more to halt terrorists

“Social-media companies shouldn’t take on the job of censoring speech on behalf of any government, and they certainly shouldn’t do so voluntarily,” said Danny O'Brien, international director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. Attempting to set speech restrictions online is a slippery slope, he said. “Who defines 'terrorism'?...

Social media, the new megaphone for violent perpetrators

Facebook explicitly bans content being shared by "dangerous organizations" engaged in terrorist activity or organized crime. But even that requires a judgment call, because not everyone around the world defines terrorism in the same way, said David Greene, civil liberties director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group...

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