San Francisco – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has bolstered its European policy work with the hiring of two important new staffers: Icelandic poet, artist, and free expression activist Birgitta Jónsdóttir, and European Internet policy expert Christoph Schmon.

Birgitta Jonsdottir, EFF’s first Internet Archive Fellow, will be working across Europe as an advocate for the public interest Internet, focusing on protecting and balancing online speech, privacy, and innovation. In her years of activism in Iceland’s Parliament for the parties she co-founded, the Civic Movement and Pirate Party in Iceland, she championed for democracy in the digital era, with special focus on making Iceland into a digital safe haven for freedom of expression, freedom of information and speech and the right to privacy both online and off. Birgitta’s role is financially supported by one of the strongest examples of the public interest Internet: the Internet Archive, the non-profit digital library that aims to provide “universal access to all knowledge.”

“Digital rights are human rights. People around the world must work together to protect privacy, transparency, and free expression,” said Birgitta. “I’m proud to be working with EFF and the Internet Archive to help be a voice for the public interest Internet, and I’m thrilled to use the many lessons I learned as a politician to make the digital world a better place.”

Christoph Schmon, EFF’s new International Policy Director, will oversee all of our global policy work and follow the EU policy developments closely. Schmon comes from BEUC - the European Consumer Organization, where he led work on artificial intelligence and platform liability: two big topics that EFF is concerned with worldwide.

“The European Union is drawing up legislation that will change the balance between online platforms and their users,” said Schmon. “The troubling provisions in the EU Copyright Directive signaled the starting point of this process. As the European Union member states begin to transform the directive into national laws, it’s vital that the voices of technology users reach lawmakers. I’m very happy to lead the EFF team in making sure that the Internet works for everyone—not just the rich and powerful.”

“The Internet is global, but laws are local, and they can clash in ways that have huge ramifications around the world,” said EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry. “We’ve already seen the policy dilemmas posed by the ‘right to be forgotten’ and the GDPR—not to mention countless battles over treaties and trade agreements. We are so pleased that these two world-class policy experts are joining EFF to protect rights in Europe and beyond.”  

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