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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

Facebook 'made China censorship tool'

Facebook worked on special software so it could potentially accommodate censorship demands in China, according to a report in the New York Times. "Kudos to the Facebook employees who brought this to the attention of the New York Times," said the EFF's global policy analyst Eva Galperin. "It's very nice...

Shadow Regulations and You: One More Way the Internet's Integrity Can Be Won

When should the public be concerned about Shadow Regulations encroaching on Internet freedoms? Whenever there is no space for transparency, accountability and user participation, very shady Shadow Regulations can be implemented. Mitch Stoltz, Senior Staff Attorney at EFF , explained, "It's an abdication of responsibility to pressure platforms like Facebook...

Pimping Charges Against Backpage Set To Be Thrown Out

Section 230 of the Act guarantees that “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Judges have affirmed that Section 230 means online platforms cannot be held responsible for what is published...

Librarians, Act Now to Protect Your Users (Before It’s Too Late)

Books checked out from a library and terms searched on library computers can reveal a teenager’s questions about sexual orientation, a neighbor’s religious leanings, or a student’s political interests. Libraries across the country, particularly public libraries, make it part of their mission to serve the most vulnerable and underserved user...

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