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Podcast Episode: How private is your bank account?

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 maintain your privacy rights in 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 the government 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

EFF Experts to Speak at Privacy Roundtable in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. - On Wednesday, March 17, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is hosting its final public roundtable on technology privacy challenges in Washington, D.C. Two experts from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) are taking part.
EFF Senior Staff Technologist Peter Eckersley and EFF Boardmember Edward W. Felten will...

The Beginning of the End of Data Retention

Last week, the German Constitutional Court issued a much-anticipated decision, striking down its data retention law as violating human rights. It was an important victory for Europe’s Freedom Not Fear movement, which was formed to oppose the EU Data Retention Directive. But it was also a reminder of the...

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New "Smart Meters" for Energy Use Put Privacy at Risk

The ebb and flow of gas and electricity into your home contains surprisingly detailed information about your daily life. Energy usage data, measured moment by moment, allows the reconstruction of a household's activities: when people wake up, when they come home, when they go on vacation, and maybe even when...

Privacy Protection Needed As Smart Grid Arrives

San Francisco - Privacy advocates are warning that "smart meters" intended to precisely measure and control home electrical consumption could erode the privacy of daily life unless regulators limit data collection and disclosure. In a joint filing yesterday, the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation...

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