Normally around Christmas people are focused on giving. Giving to family, friends, maybe even coworkers. Some give time to charities, some make donations to others. One of my annual traditions for Christmas is giving to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a digital liberties organization that fights for freedom of speech online, privacy, and other causes that are generally too technical to garner attention from other organizations.
This year I’m adding a very similar organization to my annual Christmas list, Software Freedom Law Center (Hi Aaron!), which similarly advocates for issues that increasingly plague and impact our lives, whether we understand them or not.With all the buzz going on right now about Wikileaks maybe you’ve thought about these issues a little more than normal.
Depending on your understanding of the issue or political orientation, it might be hard to believe, but freedom of speech online is a relatively fragile thing. Maybe it’s because technology appears to be finite and controllable, maybe it’s because online speech travels much faster and is easier to consume, but it seems that governments and governing bodies tend to naturally flock towards the idea of speech regulation of technical mediums.Groups like the Software Freedom Law Center and the Electronic Frontier Foundation work to preserve freedoms on our behalf.
When I say “freedom of speech online” or “freedom online”, we’re also talking about fighting against overly broad software patents, violators of the GPL, warrantless wiretapping of online communications, and a whole bunch of other issues that may seem only tangentially related to speech, but do impact your voice online.In addition to the work they do, I’ve had the privilege of interacting with and knowing a few individuals from both organizations, and they’re great people as well! So Merry Christmas, and if you’re looking for a great gift idea or a cause to support, check out both groups.