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10.07.19

EFF Should Protect or Represent Geeks, Not ‘Hipsters’

Posted in EFF, Google, Microsoft at 3:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hipster

Summary: The EFF’s reliance on some corporate cash (sometimes billionaires) raises important questions about adherence to said goals

Some people, including longtime readers, have responded to what we wrote last night about the EFF (we said more this morning). Several people believe that what they dub “hipsters” are ruining the EFF as insiders or as members (supporters). One person responded to our article "Electronic Frontier Foundation Makes a Mistake by Giving Award to Microsoft Surveillance Person" by saying that “it would be like something from the Microsoft playbook: join something and subvert it from the inside, there’s a Microsoft quote in the Comes docs about that.” (that means Comes v Microsoft)

It would be nice if the EFF spoke about EPO abuses and quit taking 'surveillance capitalism' money (a newer example of it was covered here this morning).

“…it would be like something from the Microsoft playbook: join something and subvert it from the inside, there’s a Microsoft quote in the Comes docs about that.”
      –Anonymous
From what we’re able to gather, based on the EFF’s IRS filings (these are publicly available), the EFF saw a boost in budget after the Snowden leaks but it went almost ‘downhill’ from there (further analysis might show members not renewing); they must get leaner rather than pursue corporate cash. They need to always ensure principles of integrity are at the forefront. Taking money from surveillance companies and giving these companies EFF awards isn’t the way to achieve this.

We’ve examined the latest IRS filing from the EFF. It says that the EFF receives about 4 million dollars a year from members, which leaves one wondering where the remainder (about twice that amount) comes from. The salaries aren’t totally crazy; the chief nets just over $250,000 a year. SF/Bay Area is expensive, but maybe $100,000 would suffice.

But here’s our biggest issue: The main concern here is that the EFF might become a “hush organisation”, attracting corporate funding in exchange for leaving these corporations alone (no criticism) or worse — lobby for their agenda. Is this already happening subconsciously? Is there self-censorship as opposed to spiking and threats to staff? The bottom line is, the EFF needs to reject all corporate money or risk becoming another Linux Foundation.

It’s difficult to forget how the EFF badmouthed E-mail encryption, partly based on misinformation, while promoting “phone stuff” (with back doors) as a viable alternative. If many EFF members and staff just loosely value privacy but mostly use Apple’s ‘i’ things, what does that say about the EFF’s orientation? Months ago and as recently as weeks ago the EFF also helped Apple’s and Microsoft’s “privacy” propaganda. At one point or another these ‘gaffes’ become too difficult and too frequent to overlook or ignore. It’s part of a pattern. Their main “free speech” staff (York) blocked me in Twitter for merely retweeting something.

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