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Knowing “what the government is up to” is often the first step in ensuring that the government respects the civil liberties of its citizens. Transparency is especially important given the government’s increasingly secretive use of new technologies for law enforcement and national security purposes. From cell phone location tracking, the use of surveillance drones, secret interpretations of electronic surveillance law, and the expanding use of biometrics, EFF wants to hold the government accountable and uphold your digital rights.

To that aim, EFF’s transparency work is dedicated to using federal and state freedom of information laws, the courtroom, and our megaphone to shine light on government activities. 

One of the major tools we use is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a federal law that gives people the right to request information kept by federal government agencies. Our team of FOIA lawyers also submit requests on a variety of digital civil liberties issues and often take cases to court when we believe the government is unduly withholding information. But anyone can make a request under FOIA, and you can go here to learn how you can submit your own.

While emerging technologies give the government new tools that threaten citizen civil liberties, technology also has the potential to create a more democratic relationship between public institutions and the citizens they serve. Today, a broad range of new tools are allowing the public to more closely examine government and corporate entities and to hold them accountable for deception, censorship, and corruption. In addition to using freedom of information laws to shed light on government actions, EFF also wants to highlight technologies that help the transparency process —whether it’s making it easier to file and track FOIA requests, websites dedicated to whistleblowing, or open government initiatives that can improve access to information.

Transparency Highlights

FISC Orders on Illegal Government Surveillance

EFF has sued the Department of Justice (DOJ), demanding answers about illegal email and telephone call surveillance at the National Security Agency (NSA). The FISA Amendments Act (FAA) of 2008 gave the NSA expansive power to spy on Americans’ international email and telephone calls. However, last month, a government lawyer...
FOILIES

The Foilies 2018

Recognizing the Year’s Worst in Government Transparency Government transparency laws like the Freedom of Information Act exist to enforce the public’s right to inspect records so we can all figure out what the heck is being done in our name and with our tax dollars. But when a public agency...

Transparency Updates

Release the Hounds

How does one become a voting lobbyist? Enthusiastic activists from 26 states are just now finishing up three hours of training from event coordinators that included a briefing on HR 550 and similar Senate legislation, a run-down on how to conduct a successful and effective meeting with Congressional staff, media...

Transparent Lobbying Meets Transparent Voting

Feel like your democracy is a bit opaque these days? Beginning tomorrow, EFF will help shed a little light in two interconnected ways. On Thursday and Friday, June 9th and 10th, EFF will provide a series of weblog reports of a two-day lobbying effort by a coalition of activist groups...

Transparent Lobbying for E-voting Reform This Week

EFF to Provide Live Reports on Lobbying Blitz for E-voting Reform Bill San Francisco, CA - Tomorrow and Friday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will provide a series of weblog reports on a two-day lobbying effort by a coalition of activist groups fighting for transparent, auditable electronic voting. The...

Slowly, Sunshine Creeping Into Texas E-voting Process

Prior to this week, Texas voters were effectively locked out of the decision-making process surrounding the certification of voting technology, electronic or otherwise. In an insular process that unavoidably sheltered them from the concerns of concerned citizens, state examiners previously met in private with e-voting vendors to discuss the pros...

Texas Voting Forum Open to the Public

Public Comment Welcome at Feb. 28 Meeting About E-voting Machines Texas - The ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently won a preliminary injunction in their lawsuit against the state of Texas concerning whether the Texas Open Meetings Act applies to voting technology certification meetings of the state's election...

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