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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

Free Speech is Only as Strong as the Weakest Link

From Mubarak knocking a country offline by pressuring local ISPs to PayPal caving to political pressure to cut off funding to WikiLeaks, this year has brought us sobering examples of how online speech can be endangered. And it’s not only political speech that is threatened – in the United...

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 the Internet: Section 230. This comes somewhat as a surprise, since the original purpose of...

Free Speech Updates

Publius, RIP?

EFF's own Fred von Lohmann has a monthly column at Law.com, and fortunately we have the freedom to publish these columns in their entirety here at the EFF website. This month's column is "Publius, RIP?" -- a look at why it's critically important to our society that we...

Online Journalists to Get Their Day in Court

Apple Agrees to Delay Subpoenas Until March 4 Hearing San Jose - After negotiations with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Apple agreed on Friday to extend the deadline on a subpoena it issued to an online journalist's Internet service provider (ISP) until after a hearing that will determine whether the...

Legal Clarity for Bloggers

There are two laudable legislative efforts in the works that could help clarify that online journalists are entitled to the same rights and privileges as traditional print journalists. The first is the national OPEN Government Act (S.394), introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) and co-sponsor Senator Pat Leahy (D-Vt.)...

Apple Bites Students; the Woz Bites Back

People in the Apple community are upset about the company's legal action against three Canadian students who allegedly posted a developer build of MacOS 10.4 via BitTorrent. Now the publisher of DrunkenBlog has posted responses from 25 members of the Mac community -- including one from none other...

EFF Asks Court to Protect Online Journalists

Seeks to Stop Apple From Undermining Reporter's Privilege Santa Clara County, CA - Today the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asked a California Superior Court for a protective order that would prevent Apple Computer from forcing three online journalists to identify their confidential sources and hand over unpublished materials. EFF...

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