Before most people even knew what the Internet was, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) was protecting it.
If the you imagine this still-young medium as a precocious teenager, then the EFF is its guidance counselor, offering advice, interpreting rules and protecting its charge from dangerous influences.
This year marks the 15th anniversary for the San Francisco-based organization, which continues to confront cutting-edge issues such as free speech, innovation, privacy and consumer rights.
Some of the EFFs legal victories include RIAA v. Verizon, DOE v. Ashcroft, and JibJab Media v. Ludlow Music. The EFF also represented Grokster in its 9th Circuit win against MGM, although the Supreme Court overturned that decision recently, leading several P2P businesses to close their doors.
The EFF is celebrating its birthday this weekend with an anniversary bash at its headquarters in San Francisco.
We spoke with EFFs Executive Director Shari Steele—who has been with EFF since 1992—about "radio TiVos", the Google Print library project, and the Patriot Acts impact on civil liberties.
So, youre having a big bash this weekend. What EFF highlights will you be celebrating at your party? Any toasts to copyright laws?
EFF has been fighting for online civil liberties for 15 years now. Weve won cases protecting rights to not having your e-mail read by law enforcement without a warrant, allowing companies to use encryption to protect your credit card information when you make online purchases, protecting the rights of people to post anonymous criticisms on message boards, and ensuring that your vote on an electronic voting machine counts, to name a few. Whenever theres been any legal threat to the health and growth of the Internet, EFF has been there to help.