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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...

International Updates

Consumers, Librarians, and Innovators Tell EU 'We're Not Criminals'

Coalition Submits Fixes to European Parliament to Prevent Vague New Copyright Crimes Brussels - The Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF's) European Office today announced a broad coalition aimed at fixing a poorly drafted intellectual property enforcement proposal that could make criminals of thousands of people in the European Union. The Second...

Don't Let Europe Turn Its Citizens into Copycriminals!

On April 24th, the European Parliament will vote on IPRED2, the Second Intellectual Property Enforcement Directive. With one stroke, they risk turning thousands of innocent EU citizens and businesses into copycriminals. If IPRED2 passes in its current form, "aiding, abetting, or inciting" copyright infringement "on a commercial scale" in...

American Studios' Secret Plan to Lock Down European TV Devices

EFF Exposes Standards Jeopardizing Innovation and Consumer Rights San Francisco - An international consortium of television and technology companies is devising draconian anti-consumer restrictions for the next generation of TVs in Europe and beyond, at the behest of American entertainment giants. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is the only public...

Senate Committee: Broadcasting Treaty Must Be Limited

Eighteen months ago, we heard that the controversial proposed WIPO Broadcasting Treaty was not on the radar of U.S. congressional representatives. That has changed, thanks to href="http://action.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=227">your letters, and much hard work by href="http://www.eff.org/IP/WIPO/broadcasting_treaty/NGO_joint_statement_SCCR_S1.pdf"> a broad coalition of public interest NGOs, libraries, ICT industry groups and CE corporations...

IPRED2: Pausing For Thought

Call it the Universal Law of Bad Laws: the more problematic a proposed piece of legislation is, the keener its advocates are to rush it through. When that happens, it's often those in the system who call for delay that saves us all from its unintended consequences. Praise, then, is...

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