Skip to main content

EFF defends your ability to use the Internet as a platform for free expression through law, technology, and activism. The Internet has radically enhanced our access to information in countless ways, and empowered anyone to share ideas and connect with the entire world. Yet while speech is invited and empowered on the electronic frontier, it is also sometimes threatened.

Freed of the limitations inherent in traditional print or broadcast media created—and constrained—by corporate gatekeepers, speech thrives online. Social networking websites allow groups of a dozen friends to grow into massive communities that transcend national borders. Meanwhile, community journalists have used microblogging and video live-streaming to expose the world to stories that long went unheard. Websites like Wikipedia and the Internet Archive have pioneered an open-source model of sharing and preserving information.

On the other hand, speech is also threatened online. Coders and developers risk criminal penalties for practicing the kind of digital tinkering, repair, and exploration that enable innovation. Similarly, dissidents and activists, especially those whose opinions may be unpopular where they live, confront chilling effects imposed by government surveillance programs that constrain their freedom of expression. Journalists and researchers can also be stymied by government agencies that limit public access to certain information.

The technological capacity enabling even great wonders can mean little when users are denied legal protections for their creativity. Without sufficient legal protections for users and innovators, it's all too easy for governments and companies to undermine your rights. Learn more below and consider supporting our efforts.

Free Speech Highlights

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

47 U.S.C. § 230, a Provision of the Communication Decency Act Tucked inside the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 is one of the most valuable tools for protecting freedom of expression and innovation on...

Free Speech Updates

Social-Media Sites Face Pressure to Monitor Terrorist Content

“When it comes to terrorist content, it’s certainly a tricky position for companies, and one that I don’t envy,” said Jillian York, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s director of international freedom of expression, in an email. “Still, I worry that giving more power to companies—which are undemocratic by nature—to regulate speech...

This Guy Could Face Jail Time For Sharing A Meme

Because we really needed help sifting through this f–kery, MTV News spoke to Eva Galperin, Global Policy Analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) . Galperin noted that while Çiftçi did not create the meme, “criticizing the president of Turkey is against the law — defamation of the president can...

A Deeper Look Inside the PECB, Pakistan’s Terrible Cyber-Crime Bill

The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill (PECB) has received harsh criticism inside and outside of Pakistan since its radical re-drafting in April of this year. A coalition of Pakistan’s leading online rights groups and businesses warned the current version, written with no input from legal experts or technologists, would “adversely...

The Sorry Tale of the PECB, Pakistan's Terrible Electronic Crimes Bill

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a government, in the wake of a national security crisis—or hostage to the perceived threat of one—will pursue and in many cases enact legislation that is claimed to protect its citizens from danger, actual or otherwise. These security laws often include wide-ranging provisions...

Pages

JavaScript license information