As investigations director, Dave researches and writes about surveillance technology, government transparency, press freedoms, the U.S.-Mexico border and immigration enforcement, prisoner rights, and other digital rights issues. He leads the Atlas of Surveillance project in partnership with the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he is a Reynolds Scholar in Residence.
Dave is a life-long muckraker/noisemaker who joined EFF in 2013, just before the Snowden revelations. In addition to leading deep-dive investigations, Dave coordinates large-scale public records campaigns, advocates on state legislation, and compiles The Foilies, EFF's annual tongue-in-cheek awards for outrageous responses to FOIA requests. He sometimes represents EFF in digital rights-themed cosplay at Dragon Con, and he edited EFF's first science fiction collection, Pwning Tomorrow. He also researches virtual reality as part of the team that developed Spot the Surveillance, EFF's first VR experience and a winner of the 2018 Journalism 360 Challenge.
Before joining EFF, Dave wrote for alt weeklies across the American Southwest, reporting on everything from Texas death row to San Diego Comic-Con. He has moderated dark-horse presidential debates on public access TV; organized digital media on barely legal road rallies; performed spoken word on a British art-rock tour, and revealed human-rights abuses in refugee camps in Ghana. His political investigations uncovered embezzlement that ultimately put a New Mexico elected official behind bars and misconduct resulting in the severe censure and fines levied against a San Diego County Superior Court Judge. His work on incarceration has been used to support civil rights lawsuits, detention system reform, and state legislation.
His investigative reporting on incarceration in San Diego County was honored with the Youth Law Center's Loren Warboys Unsung Hero Award and the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement's Contribution to Oversight Award. He has also won top honors from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia and the Society of Professional Journalists San Diego Chapter. In 2017, Dave was a recipient of the First Amendment Coalition's Free Speech and Open Government Award alongside EFF Director of Surveillance Litigation Jennifer Lynch and the ACLU of Southern California's Director of Police Practices Peter Bibring. He served on the San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance Task Force from 2016-2018.
The city council of San Diego created "Dave Maass Day" on February 13, 2013 in sarcastic recognition of his commitment to annoying politicians and filing records requests.