The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is, perhaps, the most well-known online proponent of civil liberties.
EFF: The Early Years
Founded in July 1990 by John Perry Barlow, John Gilmore and Mitch Kapor, the non-profit organisation serves as a champion for privacy, freedom of expression and innovation.
The organisation’s roots were sown in April 1990 after Barlow had been visited by an FBI agent in relation to the theft and distribution of Macintosh ROM source code. Realising that the agent had a limited knowledge of computer technology he posted his experience on an internet forum through which he came into contact with Kapor who’d had a similar experience.
Together the pair agreed that there needed to be a way to defend civil liberties on the internet. After agreeing to fund the legal expenses of several hackers the pair gained much publicity which in turn led to offers of financial aid from Gilmore and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
After further research into the government and its conflicting views surrounding technology Barlow published an influential piece entitled “Crime and Puzzlement” in which he laid out plans to create an organisation which would aim to raise funds for education, lobbying and litigation in respect of online speech and the government’s involvement with the internet in terms of how it related to the US Constitution.
Further publicity ensued and, with funding initially supplied by Kapor, Wozniak and an anonymous source, the EFF was created on 10 July 1990.
Defending Your Rights in the Digital World
Now the organisation uses its funding and in-house expertise to offer legal defence, expose government wrongdoing including overreaching surveillance, supporting innovators in the realm of freedom-enhancing technology and in defending free speech on the web.
While the group is not entirely without its critics it is widely held to be a strong force for good in the realm of maintaining an individual’s right to free speech and upholding their 1st Amendment rights. As such, we here at ExpressVPN are more than happy to donate to an organisation that relies almost completely upon the generosity of contributors in order to function.
How to Support the EFF
If you wish to help the EFF in its quest to protect all those things that we as individuals hold sacred then there are many ways in which you can do so.
Beyond the obvious financial donations upon which they rely, the organisation also needs people to lobby their representatives where change is required and following and promoting the EFF via the whole range of social media channels is always of benefit.
Fans of EFF who have appropriate skills (coding, security, design and others) are invited to contribute their time and expertise in reporting and fixing bugs, adding new features, improving site design and other areas.
Anyone with legal skills can offer their assistance via the EFF Cooperating Attorneys List and people with none of the above skills can still offer much to the organisation which always has a need for community organisers and digital rights activists.
Features image: eff.org