Electronic Frontier foundation Defending your rights,
On Friday, President Elect Donald J. Trump will swear the oath of office, pledging to uphold the Constitution. But as EFF has learned in the course of defending our fundamental rights over four American presidencies, our civil liberties need an independent defense force. Free speech and the rights to privacy, transparency, and innovation won’t survive on their own—we’re here to ensure that government is held accountable and in check.
Technological progress does not wait for politicians to catch up, and new tools can quickly be misused by aggressive governments. The next four years will be characterized by rapid developments in the fields of artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, virtual and augmented reality, connected homes, and smart cities. We welcome innovation, but we also expect to see an explosion of surveillance technologies designed to take advantage of our connected world to spy on all of us and our devices, all the time. That data will be used not only to target individuals but to project and manipulate social behavior. What will our digital rights look like during these uncertain and evolving times? Will our current rights remain intact when the baton is passed on once again?
Make no mistake: privacy, liberty, and accountability are not partisan issues.
We’ve seen digital rights come under threat no matter which party controls the Oval Office. In 1995, we sued President Bill Clinton’s Department of Justice to overturn unconstitutional export restrictions on encryption. We sued President George W. Bush over illegal domestic surveillance. We sued the Obama administration for mass surveillance of digital communications. And we expect to file new lawsuits in the next four years. Now, more than ever, we will fiercely resist any legislation, policy, regulation, ruling, or prosecution that would impinge on our civil liberties.
The first 100 days will set the tone for the rest of Mr. Trump’s time in office. The transition team has laid out what they hope to accomplish over this period. Some of the things he and his team said have us preparing for the worst. Based on statements about surveillance, net neutrality, and press freedom, we anticipate attempts to undercut many of the hard-won protections for technology users and thwart efforts to reform broken laws.
In a matter of days, the United States will enter a new era.read more