Free Speech

Social networking websites allow groups to grow from a dozen friends, to a hundred hobbyists, to a huge organization that transcends national borders. Meanwhile, a new generation of citizen journalists have taken to (micro)blogging and video live-streaming to expose the world to stories that would otherwise go unheard. Websites like Wikipedia and the Internet Archive contribute to a new open-source model of sharing and preserving information.

In countless ways the Internet is radically enhancing our access to information and empowering us to share ideas and connect with the entire world. Speech thrives online freed of limitations inherent in traditional print or broadcast media that are created by corporate gatekeepers.

Preserving the Internet's open architecture is critical to sustaining free speech. But this technological capacity means little without sufficient legal protections. If laws can censor us to limit our access to certain information, or restrict use of communication tools, then the Internet's incredible potential will go unrealized.

Governmental organizations have time and again tried to do just that. Censorship laws often aim at speech that would also be restricted offline, but they can also erect new barriers to free expression on the Internet in order to privilege established stakeholders. When old laws are not properly adapted to this medium, it's all too easy for governments and companies to undermine your rights.

EFF defends the Internet as a platform for free speech, and believes that when you go online, your rights should come with you. Learn more below and consider supporting our efforts.

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