Generally, a type of problem solving designed to protect the personal and legal rights of individuals so that they can live a dignified existence. Many types of advocacy exist, with system advocacy being used to change systems and to promote social causes, and with legislative advocacy being used to change laws. Regardless of type, effective advocacy generally involves a broad-based approach to problem solving.
With regard to advocacy and digital world issues, three organizations have become recognized for their efforts in this regard: the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC); and the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT).
The EFF is a modern group of freedom fighters who argue that if the United States’ Founding Fathers had anticipated the digital frontier, they would have put a clause in the Constitution for protecting individuals’ rights online. Thus, the EFF is a group of lawyers, technologists, volunteers, and visionaries who challenge legislative measures threatening basic human rights with online activities.
EPIC, a public interest research center housed in Washington, D.C., was established in 1994. EPIC’s purpose is to focus the public’s attention on civil liberties issues in the information age and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and values inherent in the Constitution. EPIC publishes an email and online newsletter on topics related to civil liberties in the information age. EPIC also cites reports and books on privacy, open government, free speech, and other topics on civil liberties issues.
The CDT promotes digital age democratic values and constitutional liberties, and for this reason, its members have expertise in law, technology, and policy. The CDT seeks practical solutions to improve free expression and privacy in worldwide communications technologies. Moreover, the CDT is dedicated to bringing together segments interested in the future of the Internet. Recent topics of interest to the CDT include the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), the use of spyware, and Spam.
Electronic Frontier Foundation. About EFF. [Online, August 9, 2004.] Electronic Frontier Foundation Website. http://www.eff.org/about/; Electronic Frontier Foundation. Our Mission: With Digital Rights and Freedom For All. [Online, July 5, 2004.] Electronic Frontier Foundation Website. http://www.eff.org/mission.php; Head Injury Hotline. Advocacy Skills. [Online, 1998.] Seattle, Washington Brain Injury Resource Center Website. http://www.headinjury.com/advocacy.htm.