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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 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

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Digital Privacy at the U.S. Border: Protecting the Data On Your Devices and In the Cloud

Digital Privacy at the U.S. Border:Protecting the Data On Your Devices and In the Cloudby Sophia Cope, Amul Kalia, Seth Schoen, and Adam SchwartzDownload the report as a PDF.EXECUTIVE SUMMARYأفادت الحكومة الأمريكية أن عدد حالات تفحص المحتويات الالكترونية على الحدود قد إزداد بمقدار خمسة أضعاف خلال سنة واحدة فقط،...

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

¿Quién defiende tus datos?

New Ipandetec’s Report Features ISPs’ Privacy Best Practices and Flaws in Panamá

Panamá’s mobile internet service providers have improved their commitments to transparency and user privacy, according to the new edition of IPANDETEC’s ¿Quien Defiende Tus Datos? (“Who Defends Your Data?”) report. The third edition, published today shows general progress in companies’ data protection policies and their public commitment to assess...

Person & cat inside home, surrounded by icons for “smart” tech, computers

Keeping Your Smart Home Secure & Private

Here at EFF, we fight hard to ensure your security and privacy rights are maintained in the digital world. Back when we were founded in 1990, a dream of a world united by the internet was accompanied by forward-thinking visions of connected devices of all kinds making our lives more...

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EFF to European Court: Keep Encryption Alive

While encryption has been under attack in recent days, it’s still essential for private and secure electronic communications, especially for human rights defenders and journalists. EFF and our partners recently argued for the essentiality of encryption in a case before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). In...

person in dress holding an ultrasound screen in front of their abdomen which displays keys, with a rainbox in the background

EFF's Statement on Dobbs Abortion Ruling

Today's decision deprives millions of people of a fundamental right, and also underscores the importance of fair and meaningful protections for data privacy. Everyone deserves to have strong controls over the collection and use of information they necessarily leave behind as they go about their normal activities, like using apps...

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