[last updated: Nov 18, 2023]
Thanksgiving is almost upon us here in the US. I felt it was a good opportunity to say thanks to some of the wonderful organizations out there working very hard to improve our security, protect our privacy, and defend our rights. If you believe in a cause but don’t have the time to get directly involved, then donating money to groups with the skills, time and talent to truly make a difference is an excellent way to go. You might even get break on your taxes, too. (Note that some companies have donation matching programs, as well – so you might ask your employer about matching your contribution.)
Many of these organizations will send you something for donating – a shirt, hat, sticker, magnet, etc. Display it proudly for others to see. Perhaps it will cause them to look it up or ask you about it, offering another opportunity to spread the word or spark some much-needed debate on these issues.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
If I was going to pick one organization that just does it all (and does it well), I would have to pick the Electronic Frontier Foundation. (This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who follows my podcast.) Staffed with top-notch technologists, lawyers and policy wonks, EFF is at the forefront of privacy, transparency, security, and free speech issues. They have been involved in hundreds of important legal cases, including an impressive string of legal victories. The EFF web site hosts some wonderful security guides, including tutorials and materials for people willing to teach others. They have created one of my most recommended browser plugins, Privacy Badger, and have a cool tool to see how fingerprintable your browser is, Cover Your Tracks. And that’s just tip of the iceberg.
I need to call out one other organization that deserves special mention: Signal. The Signal Technology Foundation is the non-profit organization behind the most best private messaging service on the planet, at least in my opinion. These guys wrote the book on true end-to-end encrypted messaging. If you haven’t tried it, you should do so right now. Find a few friends to join with you. It’s hard to understate the importance of projects like Signal. It’s open source. It’s free. It has no ads. It doesn’t monetize your data. And the encryption and privacy technology are amazing. But as the CEO of Signal just wrote: privacy is priceless, but Signal is expensive. To do what they do costs about $50M a year – and they survive strictly on donations. We need to support efforts like this – not just by promoting it, but with on-going donations. I used to give $5 a month, but I just upped it to $10.
Saving Democracy, Fighting for Your Rights
Of course there are many other superb organizations that are fighting for your rights, holding governments and corporations accountable, and trying to improve our democratic institutions. Here are just a few that you might consider supporting:
- Electronic Frontier Foundation (see above)
- Signal Technology Foundation (see above)
- Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
- Fight for the Future
- Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT)
- Mozilla Foundation (maker of Firefox)
- Privacy Guides
- Common Cause
- Verified Voting
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
- Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP)
You can find these and other great security and privacy links on my Resources page.
Help Us to Help Others
Of course, we here at Firewalls Don’t Stop Dragons are also doing our part to help people defend their digital devices and protect their privacy. The more of us that do these basic things, the better off we will all be. You can help us reach more people and be more effective in lots of ways – many of them without spending a dime. See the Support page for a long list of ways you can help the cause of privacy and security.
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