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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

EFF Appeals Ruling in Apple Case

Asks Court to Reaffirm Freedom of the Press San Jose, CA - Today the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed an appeal in a case that has broad implications for the rights of reporters to protect the confidentiality of their sources. Last week, a California Superior Court judge ruled...

Why Apple Should Stop Threatening Journalists

The San Jose Mercury News gets it: Consider the following scenario. A drug company's research determines that one of its drugs already on the market is dangerous. The company decides the research results are proprietary trade secrets and bottles them up. It's clear that the public would be served...

Celebrating Sunshine Week

This week is Sunshine Week! Sunshine Week is an initiative of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) to raise awareness about the critical importance of public access to government records. This week, EFF joins ASNE and the dozens of other organizations celebrating Sunshine Week in...

What If It Was CNN?

A Slashdotter tells a personal story illustrating how a trade secret -- or what a company claims is a trade secret -- can be a matter of public importance: Back in 1995 Steve Young of CNN told me "CNN protects its sources." I was on the phone with him...

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