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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

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Social Media Platforms Increase Transparency About Content Removal Requests, But Many Keep Users in the Dark When Their Speech Is Censored, EFF Report Shows

San Francisco and Tunis, Tunisia—While social media platforms are increasingly giving users the opportunity to appeal decisions to censor their posts, very few platforms comprehensively commit to notifying users that their content has been removed in the first place, raising questions about their accountability and transparency, the Electronic...
Image of face outline put together with several lines. Very cyberpunk.

Same Problem, Different Day: Government Accountability Office Updates Its Review of FBI’s Use of Face Recognition—and It’s Still Terrible

This week the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued an update to its 2016 report on the FBI’s use of face recognition. The takeaway, which they also shared during a Congressional House Oversight Committee hearing: the FBI now has access to 641 million photos—including driver’s license and...

Research Shows Publishers Benefit Little From Tracking Ads

Advertising industry lobbyists have long argued that tracking users is necessary to power a publishing industry that makes its content available to users for “free”— despite a heavy privacy cost. Right now, a majority of publishers make money by working with advertisers that collect personal information about users as they...

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