Over the past few years, just like the rest of the world, EFF has had to adapt to change and face new challenges. We’ve even had to relearn how we did things before most of the world shut down for over a year. Even through all this, EFF members have shown that the fight for digital freedoms is still strong. This year, we have come together to push back against dangerous police surveillance technology, defend the use of strong encryption, and protect the privacy and security of those seeking and offering reproductive health care. And those are only a few of the biggest battles from the past year!
Just like the scope of EFF’s work, our members stand strong throughout the world. Last spring, the EFF membership team planned a virtual Members’ Speakeasy that focused on some of the work that we do outside of the U.S., specifically in the EU. EFF members showed up to attend a discussion on the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act, bills that EFF continues to be heavily involved in, working to ensure that they protect users’ rights to free expression and strong encryption.
Later in the spring we had a real challenge. The team had to relearn how to host in-person events! We hosted our sixth annual Tech Trivia and 14th annual Cyberlaw Trivia, the first in-person trivia nights since 2019. Though we had done these events in-person before, learning how to reconnect in the physical world again was an uphill battle. Thankfully, our members were ready to test the limits to their nerdiness and our Cybertiger was eager to escape from Zoom. Food was eaten, prizes were given out, and EFF staff even adorned totally authentic robes and wigs to judge each team’s knowledge on the fascinating and obscure minutiae of digital security, online rights, and internet culture.
The summer is one of EFF’s busiest times of the year, and this one was no exception. The summer hacker conferences, including DEF CON, Black Hat USA, and BSides Las Vegas all took place in-person. Being back in Las Vegas for the first time since 2019 was incredible. EFF supporters helped raise enough money to fund literally one lawyer for a full year, and some more. Even with EFF being away from Las Vegas for two years, our supporters rose to the challenge of keeping our team ongoing.
We even had the opportunity to create one of our most unique t-shirts to date, with a collaboration from iconic hacker artist Eddie the Y3ti Mize and the esteemed multi-year winners of EFF’s t-shirt puzzle challenge. This DEF CON 30 t-shirt included EFF’s hardest-ever hidden puzzle (you can try it for yourself or see the solution here!). We are in awe of the incredible support from members during these conferences. It was a great return to in-person gatherings in Las Vegas and we are so glad to be back and to have your support.
Generally, fall can be pretty calm for EFF. But we were just too excited about the possibility of seeing more supporters in-person, so we decided to end the year with a few more events. Our first in-person fall Members’ Speakeasy since 2019 took place in October, where we raised a glass with digital freedom supporters in the Bay Area to catch up and chat about online rights. We were able to see long-time supporters and even some who had never been to an EFF Speakeasy before.
Our final event of the year was easily our most ambitious. We celebrated our first-ever EFF Awards in-person and online. After learning a lot from the past two years of virtual events, we didn’t want to revert to only holding our awards ceremony in-person, so we did our best to have it live and online. Scores of EFF supporters attended the awards ceremony in San Francisco to celebrate, but we also got to chat with dozens of attendees online during the livestream. Being able to see people both in cyberspace and in meatspace was a great way to kick off the end of the year.
Now as 2022 comes to a close, users around the world continue to show their support for digital freedoms. We continue to rely on digital connections more than ever, and continue to face battles like surveillance, censorship, pushes to take away privacy and security from users, and much more. These battles make EFF’s mission to preserve our rights online crucial.
Thank you to all of the EFF members who joined forces with us and kept the fight for internet freedom strong this year. Our successes are only possible with help from people like you. If you haven’t joined EFF yet, now is a great time to do so!
This article is part of our Year in Review series. Read other articles about the fight for digital rights in 2022.