The people fighting for your online privacy—and how you can help them

Heather Parry

By Heather Parry

13 April 2017

Following the repeal of the FCC’s internet privacy laws, it’s easy to feel at a loss when it comes to your online privacy. When the President of the US and the head of the FCC don’t seem concerned about protecting you on the web, it’s tough to believe that anyone is.

However, there are a lot of people and fantastic organizations out there reacting to this attack on your rights. A lot of these organizations have been fighting for internet privacy for a long time, and have advocated for things like Net Neutrality along the way. In short, they’re the good guys.

So in the wake of this terrible ruling, who are the people still fighting for your online rights—and how can you help them?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

The EFF is perhaps the largest and most influential privacy organization out there. Founded by John Gilmore, John Perry Barlow and Mitch Kapor in 1990 as a response to the technological incompetency of the authorities and as a way to address the need for internet civil liberties laws, the EFF does advocacy work, has written frameworks for laws that are in place today, and regularly brings and defends privacy-related lawsuits in US courts.

The EFF is a fantastic source of non-partisan privacy and legal news, and will link you to the best ways to contact your representatives and fight for your rights. The organization also continues to fight for internet privacy at a governmental level while also giving you information on how to protect yourself at home.

Find out more and support the EFF here.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

With over 1 million members, an annual budget of over $100 million and almost 100 years of experience, the ACLU is incredibly effective in its stated mission: to protect the legal and Constitutional rights of every person in the United States. Though the ACLU is not primarily an internet privacy organization, it has a long history of protecting free speech on the web, fighting for Net Neutrality and advocating for real online privacy.

Find out more and support the ACLU here.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)

EPIC is an independent non-profit research centre committed to educating the public about issues relating to privacy and human rights issues. The organization has a particular focus on the investigation of emerging technologies and how these may affect the lives of citizens.

EPIC has been particularly effective in bringing online privacy-related complaints to the Federal Trade Commission, often forcing changes to technology or to legislation surrounding it (they’ve tackled Google, Facebook, WhatsApp and Snapchat to name just a few). For information about new technologies and the effect they’ll have on your privacy, follow EPIC’s work closely.

Find out more and support EPIC here.

OpenMedia

Founded in Canada in 2008 as a way to protect free and open online communication, OpenMedia has been at the forefront of many internet-based civil liberties fights over the last decade. OpenMedia most strongly protects internet access, free expression and privacy online. While they focus on Canada, their influence is felt much farther than that.

Find out more and support OpenMedia here.

Amnesty International

As one of the most wide-ranging and respected huamn rights organizations currently working, Amnesty fights for a huge number of civil liberties and raises awareness of the plight of marginalized groups and individuals the world over. While not primarily focused on online affairs, Amnesty has been advocating for free speech and privacy online for a long time, as well as fighting against censorship. Amnesty continues to hold companies like Skype and Microsoft to account on privacy matters.

Find out more and support Amnesty International here.

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