The Electronic Frontier Alliance (EFA) is a loose network of local groups fighting for digital rights in the United States, chaired by EFF. Members’ efforts have been recovering from the limitations put on local organizing caused by the pandemic. More EFA members have been holding in-person workshops and meet-ups that help cement the relationships needed to do their work.
If you’re a member of a local or state group in the United States that fights for digital rights and might want to join, please learn more at our FAQ page. If your group feels like a good fit, please fill out an application here. The Alliance has scores of members, all doing great things this year. This review highlights just a few.
EFA members are organizing for your rights
This year, we caught up with our friends at the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.), a growing organization that has become a force to be reckoned with in New York. STOP has worked to pass the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology Act in their City Council, and used the law to uncover previously unknown NYPD surveillance contracts. They also won key successes against discriminatory policies by the NYPD by taking the department to court.
We talked to Portland’s Techno-Activism 3rd Mondays (TA3M), which came out of a nationwide effort to increase digital rights activism by providing regular workshops on related topics. Portland’s TA3M hasn’t just survived when most other chapters have disbanded. They have kept a great pace of trainings and panel discussions which has helped keep the digital rights movement alive in Portland, even through the pandemic when these educational events had to move online.
We checked-in with CCTV Cambridge on their efforts to close the digital divide with their Digital Navigator program, as well as their advocacy for digital equality. CCTV Cambridge does work across all demographics. For example, they implemented a Youth Media Program where teens get paid while developing skills to become professional media artists. They also have a Foundational Technology program for elders and others who struggle with technology.
EFA groups kept the conversation going in their communities
Alliance members got together for a podcast interview on Firewalls Don’t Stop Dragons, including EFF, Portland-based PDX Privacy, and Chicago-based Lucy Parsons Labs. It’s a great introduction to the Electronic Frontier Alliance, a couple of its superstar members, and how to get involved.
The Electronic Frontiers track at the sci-fi, fantasy, and comic book-oriented Dragon*Con in Atlanta was produced in coordination with EFA member Electronic Frontiers Georgia and garnered some fantastic conversations. After a few years of hiatus or virtual panels, the digital rights component to the convention came back strong last year and carried on full steam ahead in 2023. Members of EF-Georgia, EFF and allied organizations presented on a variety of topics, including:
More of the Dragon*Con panels can be found at EF-Georgia’s special Dragon*Con playlist.
EFF-Austin also moved back in-person events, including monthly expert talks in Texas and meet-ups for people in their city interested in privacy, security, and related issues. Subjects included:
This past year, we also had the opportunity to expand the alliance, especially among youth-led groups, by welcoming six impressive new members:
- Cyber Security Club @SFSU, San Francisco, CA: The Cyber Security Club is a student group for digital security-minded members of the San Francisco State University community.
- Encode Justice North Carolina: Encode Justice NC is mostly made up of high school students learning the tools of organizing by focusing on issues like algorithmic machine-learning and law enforcement surveillance.
- Encode Justice Oregon: Like the EJ-NC chapter, EC-Oregon is composed of high school students training their peers to take an active role in local decision-making.
- MOKANCAN, Lawrence, KS: The Missouri & Kansas Cyber Alliance Network is a growing new group of volunteer activists who have been meeting on privacy and other digital rights in cities near the border of the two states.
- New York Law School’s Privacy Law Association, New York, NY: The PLA is a group of law students that train and organize around digital privacy and its impact in many fields of the law.
- Security Club @OSU, Portland, OR: The OSU SEC is a group for security-minded students at Oregon State University that engages in cyber defense training and related digital security education.
As we continue to fight for our digital rights, more groups are connecting to build and maintain a movement for change. In the coming year, a lot of EFA members will be focused on effecting positive social change, whether it’s by training new generations of digital justice activists or preventing attacks on rights to privacy and free expression.
Learn more about some of our other EFA members in these past profiles:
This blog is part of our Year in Review series. Read other articles about the fight for digital rights in 2023.