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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

EFF To California Supreme Court: Warrantless Searches of California’s Controlled Substance Prescription Database Threaten Patient Privacy

San Francisco—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is urging the California Supreme Court to rule that law enforcement agents need a warrant to search records revealing which Californians were prescribed controlled substances to treat conditions such as anxiety, pain, attention disorders, and insomnia. In an amicus brief filed today...

Apple All Writs Act (NY)

In this case, the US government is demanding Apple bypass the lock screen of a seized iPhone under the All Writs Act, a general-purpose law passed in 1789 that allows a court to require third parties’ assistance to execute a prior order of the court. As of October, 2015, Apple...

Feria de Equipos de Espionaje en México Plantea Preocupaciones Sobre La Falta de Respeto a la Normas de Privacidad en América Latina

El Intelligence Support System (ISS) Latin World America, una feria que sucedió del 20 al 22 de octubre pasado en la ciudad de México, donde los proveedores de sistemas secretos de vigilancia se reunieron para exhibir y vender sus productos a los gobiernos, genera preocupaciones sobre el uso descontrolado...

Surveillance Trade Show in Mexico Raises Concerns About Latin America's Unenforced Privacy Protections

The Intelligence Support System (ISS) World Latin America Trade Show, hosted in Mexico City during October 20 to 22, where secret surveillance systems and equipment vendors gather to meet and sell their products to governments, escalates concerns surrounding increased and unchecked use of surveillance technology in Latin America. The...


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