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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...

Privacy Updates

The Playpen Cases: Mass Hacking by U.S. Law Enforcement

In December 2014, the FBI received a tip from a foreign law enforcement agency that a Tor Hidden Service site called “Playpen” was hosting child pornography. The site's actual IP address was publicly available and appeared to resolve to a location within the U.S. After some additional investigation, the FBI...

What Are License-Plate Readers Good For?

“I understand why law enforcement would like to have as much info on everyone as possible. But whether that’s consistent with the values of America is a different story,” says Dave Maass, an investigative researcher with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which advocates for civil-liberties protections in the digital world. “I...

Want cheaper Internet access? Hand over your privacy

Lee Tien, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said another problem with pay-for-privacy is that it relies heavily on the honor system. “Even if you pay extra for privacy, you can’t know what they’re actually doing,” he said. “You can’t know if they’re still using your information for...

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