i was asked to put together a short (hard to do) description of what the EFF is about so that you guys would have a good overall sense of what we do and why we do it. Obviously, every topic discussed here is more interestingandcomplex than can be captured in these short summaries. However, i've opted for brevity in case you don't have much time. Anyway, if you have any questions you want answered in depth, please ask. i'm sure Stanton could go on for days and i prefer the interactivity of conversations to the blandness of text.


That guy...Marshall McLuhan...wrote this back then...

"The medium, or process, of our time-electronic technology-is reshaping and restructuring patterns of social interdependence and every aspect of personal life. It is forcing us to reconsider and reevaluate practically every thought, every action, and every institution formerly taken for granted"

commerce philosophy love
art healthcare politics
creation friendship
education industry
iiiiiiiiiiiiiimeyoutheyus. . .

. All these things will significantly change in the Information Age. .

Distance.doesn't.matter .
ideas matter

This happened in the future................

collage of samples atop live 4444 piece jams in the basement recording studio in wherever Brazil. Quarter inch cable...directly into four track...directly into Macintosh...directly into DAT...directly onto the Internet...directly into headphone in wherever Los Angeles. No publisher...no distributor...no promoter...just the artist the art and the audience.

everything is changing.
faster than
ever before
your imagination is a better storyteller though.....


The dawning "Information Age" brings with it vast opportunities for social growth. However, it also presents grave threats to our personal freedom and democratic values.

Particularly serious are the threats posed by an uninformed Congress and public, and a power hungry "intelligence" bureaucracy. As you read this, two California BBS Systems Operators face prison sentences in Tennessee for violating Tennessee obscenity laws because some government employee (set up?) from Memphis downloaded dirty pictures from liberal California to tightass Tennessee.

Any time, society undergoes change, the powers that be will try to maintain their control, even at the expense of the people. In the poetic words of NWA Fuck the Police!

Yet, as we move into the future, "defense" can not be our sole mission. The Information revolution is the first self aware revolution in the history of humanity. Decisions that we make today about how we will "design" cyberspace will determine what kinds of lives we will have in the future. So, it is not enough to "protect" the future. We have the chance to "better the future" for once.

Imagine the far reaching implications of this simple "design" decision. If we guarantee anonymity of identity on the Internet, a man can be a woman, a woman can be a black woman, a black woman can be a gay man, a gay man can be a Jewish man.

Imagine a world where people are judged by the content of their minds instead of their physical make-up. This place "can" exist on the electronic frontier.

Design decisions do not prevent racism, sexism, classism, or other forms of discrimination by "stamping them out" (good luck), they prevent them by making them just...inappropriate..or illogical (The Aikido of Social Change).

Change always involves suffering. However, by thinking ahead, we can not only ease our suffering, but prevent needless suffering.


The Electronic Frontier Foundation , a non-profit, public advocacy organization, was founded in July of 1990 to ensure that the principles embodied in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are protected as new communications technologies emerge. We believe that our overriding public goal must be the creation of Electronic Democracy.

The EFF works to accomplish this goal through policy, legal, and community/activism development.



The Policy Missions -

1. The EFF supports "FREE SPEECH" - We must guarantee that all speech, no matter how controversial, will be protected without discrimination. If the moral majority gets to "design" cyberspace because the general public is simply unaware, we are all screwed.

2. The EFF supports the "FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION" - We must assure that all citizens have equal access to the electronic resources of the future irrespective of their financial situations, race, religion, or sex.

3. The EFF supports the "PROTECTION OF PRIVACY" - We must ensure that it is the citizens and not the FBI who are in charge. Just because 1984 has passed, doesn't mean that the threat has.

The Legal Missions -

1. The EFF sponsors legal cases where users' online civil liberties have been violated.

2. The EFF tests existing laws to see if they have become anachronistic and hence, detrimental to our freedoms in the information age.

The Community Activism Missions -

1. The EFF is dedicated to educating the public, the private sector and the government. Nothing is more dangerous than ignorance. The more we know, the less the government can sneak by.

2. The EFF helps online activists come together and pool their resources. Grassroots activism is vastly more powerful in the Information Age than it ever has been.

3. The EFF helps to build online communities and promotes discussion that will help our society learn to adapt to the new environment in a positive way.


Policy Activities -

1. Develop and advocate new laws that preserve and enhance citizens' basic Constitutional rights as they use new communications technologies. For instance, as Congress has been designing the National Information Infrastructure (NII), the EFF has been instrumental in assuring the OPEN PLATFORM which solidifies the ideals of free speech, universal access, diversity and privacy in law

2. Lobby against new laws that threaten those rights. For instance, the recently sunk CLIPPER ship was a proposal by the FBI to enhance their eavesdropping ability at the expense of public privacy and money.

Legal Activities -

1. Provide legal services. The STEVE JACKSON GAMES CASE, decided in March of 1993, established privacy protection for electronic mail and publications that are kept online.

2. Test old ideas in against the new environment. For instance, we are preparing for the BERNSTEIN CASE through which we hope to invalidate archaic export laws that are not only inappropriate but damaging to the liberties of Information Age businesses.

Community Activism Activities -

1. The EFF hosts the ACTION International, Civil Liberties Advocacy Working Group.

2. In order to foster community and openness, the EFF works with local organizations that support online communications issues.

3. The EFF organizes various conferences through which government, business and the public can discuss their common futures.

4. The EFF publishes a biweekly electronic newsletter, EFFector Online and other Alerts, Legislative Tests, and analyses and summarizes important bills and policies.

5. The EFF maintains several communications forums on the Internet.

6. The EFF BBS, started in March 1994, carries a wide selection of the files available on our Internet server.


Each discussion represents our commitment to challenge the political process, protect our civil liberties, educate the public and provide legal assistance to those in need. Your support helps us attain our vision of an electronic democracy, where new horizons are explored and personal freedoms are preserved.

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