When EFF was founded on July 10, 1990, it was revolutionary to imagine ordinary people possessing technology that could instantly erase distance, create connection, and access much of the world’s knowledge. The early Internet was an extraordinary place burgeoning with possibilities, and while the early users of digital world didn’t necessarily reflect the wider world or always get things right, they could see that this “new home of Mind” would change everything.
But EFF wasn’t founded on a naïve belief that the coming change would create a digital utopia. Quite the contrary. For all the joy, creativity, and togetherness that technology can help bring, EFF took root because even from those early days it was clear that powerful new digital tools could be used to hurt as well as to heal. Censorship, corporate and government surveillance, and efforts to lock down and control innovation and innovators were all present from the beginning, too. EFF was created to fight against injustice and stand for freedom.
Thirty years later we’re still standing, and taller than ever before. Our team remains committed to ensuring that technology supports freedom, justice and innovation for all the people of the world. As the technologies evolve and change, as the Internet reaches to the far corners of the globe, and as the distinction between online and offline is increasingly erased, our team has grown, shifted and stood up again and again. Just as our founders dreamed, we are proud that today we remain a beacon for all seeking a better digital future for everyone.
EFF’s guiding principles shine ever brighter against darkened skies. Our values define our work, especially as the world navigates the murky waters of a pandemic and unprecedented reckonings with our ideals of equity and justice. Technology affects and is affected by most everything we do, so it’s crucial that we recognize how privacy, free expression, and digital creativity can help in this moment.
People are coming of age never knowing a world without the Internet. That fact makes EFF’s wealth of experience and beaming light more valuable than ever. So as we celebrate EFF’s 30th anniversary over the coming year, we’ll also reflect on the lessons we’ve learned— and are still grappling with—in a series of documents and posts collected below. I’m proud to help this movement grow stronger alongside EFF each year, and I look forward to all we will accomplish together in the next decade of digital freedom.
EFF Executive Director
CELEBRATE EFF'S 30TH ANNIVERSARY AND HELP PROTECT FREEDOM ONLINE