Electronic Frontier Foundation

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Electronic Frontier Foundation

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to increase the understanding of civil liberties and other legal issues in cyberspace, or what it calls the electronic frontier. Concerned with preserving the principles embodied in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, EFF defends the rights of computer users, network users, and members of the online community.

Widely recognized for its expertise in legal matters related to computer networks and electronic media, EFF has become a leading resource for those seeking to better understand the complex issues associated with new communications technology. As part of its civil liberties mission, EFF seeks to ensure that the creators of electronic communications have the same political freedoms as the creators of newspapers, books, journals, and other traditional media.

EFF was founded on July 10, 1990, by Mitchell D. Kapor, the founder of Lotus Development Corporation and ON Technology, and John Perry Barlow, a writer and lyricist. Kapor and Barlow formed the organization after becoming alarmed by what they saw as misguided and unconstitutional actions by state and federal law enforcement officials against individual computer users. Initial funding for EFF came from Kapor, Steve Wozniak, cofounder of Apple Computer, and other computer and technology entrepreneurs.

Among EFF's first efforts were the defense of several hackers, or computer enthusiasts, in cases brought by the government. EFF has continued to sponsor lawsuits when it has felt that individuals' online civil liberties have been violated. EFF also submits advisory reports, called Amicus Curiae briefs, to courts and arranges for the charitable donation of attorneys' services for individuals who cannot afford their own legal counsel.

As part of its effort to promote laws that better accommodate new technology, EFF monitors legislation and lobbies for changes in the law. It also creates and distributes legal analyses to companies, utilities, governments, and other organizations, and it maintains a free telephone hotline for use by those in the online community who have questions regarding their legal rights. EFF runs a speakers' bureau, which disseminates the organization's views to law enforcement organizations, attorneys' associations, universities, and other groups.

EFF promotes improved intellectual property laws, including patent and Copyright laws, for electronic media. It also encourages the creation of policies that will promote the distribution of electronic information by public and private providers. EFF sponsors summits and working groups that bring together people from business, government, education, and nonprofit organizations.

Specific proposals advanced by EFF include a "common carriage" approach to free speech on electronic networks. Under a common-carrier scheme, network providers must carry all speech, regardless of its content, but are not liable for the actions of users. EFF has called for an electronic freedom-of-information act to allow broader public access to information, and it has set forth specific proposals that promote wider access to computer networks such as the Internet.

EFF publishes the EFFector Online, an electronic bulletin; the EFFector, a hard-copy newsletter; and various pamphlets and books. It maintains several communications forums on the Internet, including a web site and news group forums on Usenet and on private online systems.

Cross-references

Computer Crime; E-Mail; Freedom of Speech.

References in periodicals archive ?
Since the EFF took its seats after their stunning performance in the May 2014 elections--the new party garnered over six percent of the vote, making it the third biggest party in the country--politics has become exciting again.
Currently, EFF has about 50 employees, at least 15 of whom are lawyers, dedicated to protecting civil liberties online.
title at EFF, and one that also plays to the audience desire to feel good, is "Made in Dagenham," which had its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010.
The pounds 32,000 EFF grant will hopefully allow the business to increase production by more than 100,000 oysters a year.
The EFF -- and other lawyers who are fighting the many Righthaven/R-J suits -- all say that the duo are misusing the legal system by filing so many suits and that the relationship between the two, with one funding and the other pursuing suits, is improper.
5-million [pounds sterling] and the EFF contribution is 500,000 [pounds sterling].
Fifa support on a range of programmes will now be available once again to the EFF, and the topic of the elections will be discussed at September's Fifa Executive Committee.
The EFF says the real property rights at stake here are those of cell phone owners.
EFF, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary, is one of the most recognizable voices on the Internet promoting the rights of individuals who use the medium.
The EFF fears that the broadcast flag mandate could limit technological innovation once it has been implemented.
EFF "Privacy-Workplace Monitoring & Employer/Employee Privacy Conflicts" Archive www.
7% increase in volume due to the strong Norwegian krone, EFF said.