Electronic Frontier Foundation

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Electronic Frontier Foundation
legal form Foundation, endowment
founding July 1990
founder John Gilmore , John Perry Barlow , Mitch Kapor
Seat San Francisco
motto defending your rights in the digital world
Chair Brian Behlendorf
Managing directors Cindy Cohn
sales about 3.5 million US dollars
Website www.eff.org

The Electronic Frontier Foundation ( EFF ) is a non-governmental organization in the United States that advocates fundamental rights in the information age . The EFF works mainly before courts . She also does public relations work . The Board of the EFF include computer scientists like Bruce Schneier and professors of law at. Head is Cindy Cohn .

The organization cites freedom of speech , privacy , innovation and consumer rights as its fundamental goals. The EFF's high contributing members include the Consumer Electronics Association and Palantir Technologies .


The establishment in July 1990 goes back to the failure of the entire telephone network of AT&T on January 15, 1990, which was caused by faulty software of the operator, but was charged with alleged sabotage . The United States Secret Service then stepped up action against hackers , in May 1990 even nationwide with Operation Sundevil . Also in May 1990, a criminal complaint from Apple for distributing source code prompted an interrogation of John Perry Barlow by an FBI agent who was without any specialist knowledge. Barlow wrote an essay about it in the bulletin board system of the Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link , to which his acquaintance Mitch Kapor , who was also affected, answered . The two decided to found an organization to educate people about information technology , and Barlow published the manifesto Crime and Puzzlement ("Crime and Confusion"). Comrades-in-arms like John Gilmore were immediately found .

On July 24, 1990, when a youth was on trial for allegedly disseminating secret information about the United States' 911 911 system, the EFF hired him to attorneys . They demonstrated that this information was safe and much more publicly available. The trial was closed and the accused was released.


The founder of the EFF saw themselves as pioneers of cyberspace , which the unknown territory beyond the electronic frontier , English electronic frontier wanted to explain. EFF has been presenting its Pioneer Awards every year since 1992 .

Blue ribbon for freedom of expression

A well-known EFF initiative was the Blue Ribbon - Free Speech Online campaign, which raised awareness of the rights of Internet users to privacy and protection from business interests.

Other activities and campaigns

  • 2600 Case (1999)
  • Felten Case
  • EFF DES Crackers (1998)
  • Trademark Law - Domain Name Cases
  • Peer-to-Peer Technologies
  • Surveillance Self-Defense (German self-defense against surveillance):

The aim of the initiative, which was launched in 2009, is to provide information about laws and technologies used by the US government to monitor the population. The publication of information and methods is intended to enable Internet users to take measures to protect themselves from this monitoring.

In April 2009, after the EFF had fought for access under the Freedom of Information Act , published the analysis of an anti-terror database and demanded its parliamentary control . In the Investigative Data Warehouse (IDW) called data mining project of the FBI have so far saved one billion documents from over 53 data sources and there is the possibility of linking with many other databases.

The EFF is fundamentally committed to secure communication and data protection on the Internet. Among other things, a Firefox extension was presented with HTTPS Everywhere that automatically redirects requests via a protected SSL connection, provided the server supports this. In the meantime (as of June 2014) HTTPS Everywhere has also been published for Chrome and Opera as well as for Firefox on Android .

Another add-on published by the EFF is the Privacy Badger , which is available for Chrome and Firefox and shows the user the trackers that are active on a website and blocks them if necessary.

The EFF advises the Freedom of the Press Foundation on legal matters.

See also: Information Highway , Secure Digital Music Initiative , DeCSS , Edward W. Felten , DRM

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Annual Report 2009-2010 (PDF; 439 kB) EFF. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  2. a b About EFF . EFF. Retrieved on August 7, 2013: "defending free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights ... EFF fights for freedom primarily in the courts"
  3. ^ Board of Directors . EFF. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  4. ^ Organizational Members . EFF. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  5. a b Bruce Sterling : The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier . Bantam Books, New York 1992, ISBN 0-553-08058-X ( online in Project Gutenberg [accessed August 7, 2013]).
  6. ^ EFF Pioneer Awards . EFF. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  7. Fear of Anarchy - In: DER SPIEGEL 13/1996 of March 25, 1996
  8. heise online: US civil rights activists publish details about the FBI's anti-terror database . May 1, 2009.
  9. Franziska Baum: HTTPS Everywhere: Surf encrypted with Firefox and Chrome . In: netzwelt . August 23, 2013 ( netzwelt.de [accessed January 28, 2018]).
  10. Electronic Frontier Foundation: HTTPS Everywhere. In: https://www.eff.org . Retrieved June 9, 2014 .
  11. Electronic Frontier Foundation: Privacy Badger. In: https://www.eff.org . Retrieved August 12, 2015 .
  12. heise online: Privacy Badger Browser Plugin blocks advertising networks. In: https://www.heise.de/ . Retrieved April 4, 2017 .