EFF and Bloggers
Cory Doctorow sent along word that the Electronic Frontier Foundation is starting a fundraising campaign today for the purpose of defending the rights of bloggers to basically say whatever the hell they want, whenever the hell they want to say it, and naturally enough, I can get behind that. I have to say I am personally confused as to why free speech is an issue for bloggers, particularly here in the US, and I’m also deeply amused and annoyed regarding the fiction that bloggers can’t be journalists, or whatever nonsense people are trying to promulgate on that score. Being that I regularly write for print newspapers and magazines (and even do verifiable journalism for them from time to time), I suppose I’m better insulated from that particular sort of stupidity, since I can easily point to thousands of newspaper and magazine articles and then tell whatever person is of the mind I couldn’t be a journalist in a Web space to kiss my ass. And as for my free speech online, I know my rights under the Constitution of the United States and I’m not shy about exercising them.
However, just because I know my rights doesn’t mean others do, or that they won’t try to curtail them if at all possible, usually with a phalanx of lawyers to shovel paper about in an intimidating fashion. Also, not everyone lives in the United States and has that little philosophical gem of human liberty known as the First Amendment guarding their back. And this is where folks like the EFF come in: The organization is focused on rights online, and for bloggers this means both informing bloggers about their rights, and in defending those rights when necessary. This makes them a useful organization to have around.
Cory’s note reminds me that I’ve been planning to contribute to the EFF for some time now; I think I’ll do that today (I’ll go for the $65 contribution because it comes with a t-shirt, and I need another one of those). The EFF is trying to encourage bloggers to link to the fundraising drive by offering premiums and whatnot for the bloggers who get the most people to sign up, but, you know, I couldn’t really give a rat’s ass about that. However, I would ask you to look at the EFF’s spiel here, and if the group and its work are something you think you can support, go ahead and support it. Which is to say, contribute to the EFF if you feel it’s worth doing rather than to get your favorite blogger some useless tchochtke. If you contribute (or if you can’t contribute but support EFF and its goals), you can also put up a badge, which you may find here. I’ve gone ahead and put one up here through the end of the month.
That’s my pitch to you for today. I end on an existential query: Cory’s a friend and fellow blogger, but he’s also the European Affairs Coordinator for Electronic Frontier Foundation, which presents the question — does this mean the Blogosphere is part of Europe? If so, I want some euros.