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New technologies are radically advancing our freedoms, but they are also enabling unparalleled invasions of privacy. National and international laws have yet to catch up with the evolving need for privacy that comes with new digital technologies. Respect for individuals' autonomy, anonymous speech, and the right to free association must be balanced against legitimate concerns like law enforcement. EFF fights in the courts and Congress to extend your privacy rights into the digital world, and works with partners around the globe to support the development of privacy-protecting technologies.

Your cell phone helps you keep in touch with friends and family, but it also makes it easier for security agencies to track your location.

Your Web searches about sensitive medical information might seem a secret between you and your search engine, but companies like Google are creating a treasure trove of personal information by logging your online activities, and making it potentially available to any party wielding enough cash or a subpoena.

And the next time you try to board a plane, watch out—you might be turned away after being mistakenly placed on a government watch list, or be forced to open your email in the security line.

Several governments have also chosen to use malware to engage in extra-legal spying or system sabotage for dissidents or non-citizens, all in the name of “national security.”

As privacy needs evolve, so too should our regulatory regimes. National governments must put legal checks in place to prevent abuse of state powers, and international bodies need to consider how a changing technological environment shapes security agencies’ best practices. Above all, we need to respect the rights of autonomy, anonymity, association, and expression that privacy makes possible, while also taking into account legitimate law enforcement concerns.

Read our work on privacy issues below, and join EFF to help support our efforts.

For information about the law and technology of government surveillance in the United States check out EFF's Surveillance Self-Defense project.

Privacy Highlights

NSA Spying

The US government, with assistance from major telecommunications carriers including AT&T, has engaged in massive, illegal dragnet surveillance of the domestic communications and communications records of millions of ordinary Americans since at least 2001. Since this was first reported on by the press and discovered by the public in late...

Privacy Updates

Justice Department Not Appealing Cell Phone Surveillance Cases

DOJ's Decision Denies Courts Guidance on When to Authorize Tracking San Francisco - The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has told the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) that it will not appeal a New York decision that forcefully rejected its request to track a cell phone user without first showing probable...

Report from Hearing on National Security Letters

Today the Second Circuit Court of Appeals heard argument in the case of Doe v. Gonzales, considering whether National Security Letters (NSLs) are unconstitutional. NSLs are secret subpoenas for communications logs, issued directly by the FBI without any judicial oversight. These secret subpoenas allow the FBI to demand that online...

Judge Alito?s Decisions on EFF Issues

Bush's selection of conservative Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. for the Supreme Court is doubtless going to lead to an ideological battle in the Senate, focusing on Alito's position on hot button issues like abortion rights, federalism, and gun control. Given the divisiveness of these issues, there is a substantial...

Let the Sun Set on Patriot

Apologists justified the broad, civil-liberties corroding powers granted to the government under the USA PATRIOT Act by arguing that they would be used to put terrorists behind bars. Yet several provisions can be used against Americans in a wide range of investigations that have nothing to do with terrorism...

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