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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

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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

Medical Privacy Under Attack: 2017 in Review

If you care about maintaining privacy over medical records and prescriptions, this was not a good year. Both the California Supreme Court and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued disappointing decisions that declined to recognize a significant privacy interest in prescription records. In California, the state’s high court...

Surveillance Battles: 2017 in Review

If you’ve been following EFF’s work, you’ll know that we’ve been fighting against the creeping surveillance state for over 20 years. Often, this means pushing back against the National Security Agency’s dragnet surveillance programs, but as new technology becomes available, new threats emerge. Here are some of the biggest legislative...
2017 Unicorn Cat

What It Means to Fight for Technology Users in 2017

EFF fights for technology users. We believe that empowering and protecting users should be baked into laws, policies, and court decisions, as well as into the technologies themselves. Since our founding in 1990, we have paired this goal with the common-sense recognition that in order to properly consider these questions...

Safari in Arms Race Against Trackers - Criteo Feels the Heat

Criteo is an ad company. You may not have heard of them, but they do retargeting, the type of ads that pursue users across the web, beseeching them to purchase a product they once viewed or have already bought. To identify users across websites, Criteo relies on cross-site tracking using...


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