Victories

We work hard to make change happen!

Our victories timeline

From inception to the 44 member strong network of grassroots digital rights activists that we have become today, here's a walk through our hall of fame.

2020

Considering the human rights impact of AI

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted recommendations by EDRi members: Access Now and the Wikimedia Foundation to consider the human rights impacts of algorithmic systems.

GFF to the rescue

For the first time ever, the German constitutional court recognised that the fundamental rights enshrined in the German constitution do apply when German agencies surveil non-Germans abroad. The law that EDRi member Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte (GFF) managed to have invalidated, authorised Germany’s secret agency Bundesnachrichtendienst BND to wiretap internet traffic globally – and to track certain people or organisations without cause. This law completely ignored the freedom of open and private communication and was therefore, amongst others, harmful to the work of journalists and activists abroad.

Convincing top dogs

Thanks to EDRi's work the European Parliament's three Own Initiative Reports on the Digital Services Act have a strong fundamental rights focus and ask the EU Commission to propose ground-breaking regulation on things like content moderation rules, interoperability rights, and enforcement bodies.

Avia law declared unconstitutional

Thanks to EDRi members' joint advocacy efforts, France's Constitutional Court struck down the core of the French online hate speech law, which would have turned social media companies into an internet police and severely undermined people's freedom of expression.

Demanding better data protection across seas

Schrems II case wins EU Court of Justice case making the Privacy Shield invalid.

2019

Net Neutrality in danger

EDRi member epicenter.works, in cooperation with the Austrian Chamber of Labour, presented a study that inspected the websites of 225 mobile services over a period of 4 months, uncovering 186 Net Neutrality violations. These revelations were discussed by over 30 media in 15 countries.

Having an impact

EDRi member Metamorphosis Foundation was invited by North Macedonia‘s Ministry of Justice to nominate a member of the working group on the creation of the new Law on Personal Data Protection, consistent to the GDPR.

Keeping things in order

EDRi member Privacy International won a Supreme Court case in the UK ensuring that the Investigatory Powers Tribunal overseeing intelligence services is now subject to judicial review.

The Public Domain Safeguard

Wikimedia, together with Communia and Europeana, managed to include one of the few unambiguously positive provisions in the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive: the Public Domain Safeguard.

Guarding freedom of expression

EDRi co-organised, along with EDRi members Access Now and Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), an event in the European Parliament featuring Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism. As a result of this work EDRi succeeded in influencing the European Parliament Report to avoid the worst threats to freedom of expression.

Artificial intelligence

Start of our work on AI, facial recognition and biometrics culminating in a series of blog posts on facial recognition and other biometric identification and surveillance technologies. The articles gained attention from NGOs, universities, media outlets and MEPs, demonstrating EDRi’s thought leadership on these emerging digital rights challenges.

The European Union Terrorist Content Online Regulation

The original proposal presented serious risks for fundamental rights online, specifically on privacy and freedom of expression. The proposal to impose upload filters to detect "terrorist content" and the incentives for companies to regulate speech online without redress mechanisms was criticized by UN Special Rapporteurs, the Council of Europe and the Fundamental Rights Agency. We co-organised, along with EDRi members Access Now and Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), an event in the European Parliament featuring Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism. As a result of our work we succeeded in influencing the European Parliament Report to avoid the worst threats to freedom of expression.

#7 of Privacy Camp

The seventh annual Privacy Camp conference brought together over 230 representatives of civil society, policy-makers and academia to discuss existing and looming problems for human rights in the digital environment. In the face of a “shrinking civic space” for collective action, the event provided a platform to discuss and develop shared principles to address key challenges for digital rights and the freedoms of individuals.

2018

Bits of Freedom got it right

EDRi member Bits of Freedom formed a European coalition of organisations that helped residents make the most of their rights under the GDPR with the online tool My Data Done Right.

First small victory for Wikimedia

Wikimedia sued the NSA over surveillance and the court ruled that there is a “legal standing”.

How to turn ‘Yes’ to a ‘No’

EDRi member Bits of Freedom won the dragnet surveillance bill referendum.

Chasing the wrongdoers

EDRi member noyb filed a complaint against Google in 2018 (the day the GDPR became applicable). This resulted in the French data protection authority (CNIL) issuing a record-breaking fine of 50 million euros against Google.

Joint perspective on law enforcement data

The civil society coalition led with our member Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asking for inclusive participation of civil society in the Council of Europe’s negotiations on access to data by law enforcement in the context of criminal investigations, submitting substantive input for the negotiations, and presenting our perspective to more than 60 country representatives.

Ground breaking clauses

The ground-breaking clauses adopted by the European Commission upgrading data protection safeguards in trade agreements, building on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) success and following civil society pressure.

Saving your internet

Our major SaveYourInternet.eu campaign to act upload filters in the Copyright Directive which engaged supporters to send 150 000 emails, 15 000 tweets and hundreds of phone calls to Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), and resonated in major national media. The campaign led to the rejection of the text by the European Parliament Plenary in the summer and to a renegotiation in committee. The text was eventually adopted in plenary later in the year.

Hip hip hurray!

EDRi celebrates its 15th anniversary

2017

Big ideas coming true

EDRi member Digitale Gesellschaft initiated the biggest ever German digital rights civil-society alliance against the Anti-Hate-Speech-Law (NetzDG).

Pushing for ePrivacy

The Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament voted to push a strong ePrivacy Regulation forward.

We have a vision and we act

EDRi led a global coalition of civil rights groups to ensure harmonisation of the Council of Europe’s new rules on cross-border access to e-evidence with the highest human rights standards. The Council of Europe welcomed EDRi’s suggestions on the new protocol.

Advocacy wins

EDRi member epicenter.works sucessfully campaigned against the ‘security package’ legislation introduced by the former Austrian government. In the course of seven months, 10 out of 12 proposed measures were abandoned.

Invite accepted!

EDRi became a founding member in the United Nations (UN) Dynamic Coalition on Digital Trade.

Pushing for ePrivacy

The Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament votes to push a strong ePrivacy Regulation forward.

See something you like?

EDRi grows to 35 member organisations.

2016

Superheroes for privacy

EDRi and its SavetheInternet.eu partners campaigned furiously, meeting repeatedly with the Council Presidency, Regulators, Member State representatives and key individuals in the Parliament. As a result of this work, the European Regulators group BEREC took the necessary steps to keep broadband networks open, accessible, reliable and affordable for everyone across the EU and set a global example.

Building success

EDRi member SHARE contributed to derailing a Draft Strategy on Intellectual Property 2016-2020 by the Serbian Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development.

Showing leadership across Europe

EDRi’s Romanian member Association for technology and Internet (ApTI) led public debates regarding controversial proposals from the Romanian government and the Romanian Intelligence Agency (SRI) regarding the right to privacy. The public debates and actions led to four decisions in the past ten years by the Romanian Constitutional Court that agreed with the organisation’s position.

Scored a big one

#netneutrality was a huge success and was achieved throughout in Europe.

Privacy is a priority

The Czech Data Protection Authority (DPA) in April 2016 took action based on a complaint by EDRi member IURE, which ordered the destruction of about three million cards with the blood samples (meaning also DNA) of all newborns. These samples were collected and then unreasonably kept indefinitely in connection with the implementation of a predisposition test for some severe diseases since the 1980s.

The Verdict is WIN

EDRi member epicenter.works successfully achieved the invalidation of the Data Retention Directive (2006/24/EC) by the CJEU in 2014, in a joined case with EDRi member Digital Rights Ireland.

Taking back control over our personal data

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is adopted - EDRi played a key role in the civil society efforts leading up to this victory

Growth

EDRi grows to 31 member organisations

2015

Copyright on the win

EDRi influenced the inclusion of some of its suggestions in the Parliament’s resolution on the copyright reform.

Data protection and privacy

EDRi greatly influenced the EU’s Data Protection Regulation (Article 11, Article 23, Article 32).

Don’t Block, Don’t Filter

EDRi successfully campaigned for the deletion of passage records in Article 3 of the Net Neutrality Regulation, which foresaw the possibility for internet access providers to block and filter communications.

Safe Harbour? Maybe not!

The Court of Justice of the EU deemed the “SAFE Harbour’ agreement invalid which EDRI had been vocally advocating for.

Net neutrality

EU adopts a Regulation to safeguard Net neutrality which contains many of EDRi’s demands.

Crystal ball

The 300th edition of the EDRi-gram is published: Digital rights news from 2025.

2014

Checked and Balanced

EDRi member SHARE Foundation wrote a legal and technical analysis of the proposal to amend the Gambling Law and called all relevant actors to join the fight against the proposed amendments. The Government of Serbia soon pulled the proposal from the parliamentary procedure.

Strengthening networks of solidarity

The Internet Ungovernance Forum was co-organised by EDRi member Alternative Informatics Association (Alternatif Bilişim) in Turkey.

Inspiring activism

EDRi facilitated direct citizen participation in the democratic processes of the EU. EDRi’s answering guide for citizens on youcan.fixcopyright.eu and work with the Copyright 4 Creativity coalition lead to over 11,000 replies to the EU Commission’s copyright consultation.

What do you mean “biased”?

EDRi successfully persuaded the IP Observatory to abandon its biased report on copyright infringements in the digital world.

Saved the Internet

EDRi successfully campaigned for the adoption of crucial amendments by the European Parliament to ensure net neutrality protections.

Breaking the law

The European Court of Justice decided that the Data Retention Directive, an EU legislation on mass surveillance, contravenes European law, thanks to a case brought by EDRi-member Digital Rights Ireland and AK Vorrat Ireland.

Flying safe, keeping data safer

After a short and fierce campaign, EDRi achieved a major victory for civil liberties with regard to ongoing Passenger Name Record (PNR) initiatives.

We get the job done!

As a result of EDRi’s advocacy work and public campaigning, the draft text for voluntary blocking/filtering measures in the “Telecoms single market” proposal was removed by a majority the EU Parliament in April 2014.

Holiday surveillance

The European Parliament refers the EU-Canada air passenger surveillance measure (PNR) to the Court of Justice of the EU

We promise, we deliver

EDRi successfully concluded the WePromise campaign that put digital rights on the agenda of the EU elections.

Feeling invalidated

The Court of Justice of the European Union declares the Data Retention Directive invalid.

2013

Brought it home!

The European Parliament called for a suspension of the SWIFT.

Reforming data protection

EDRi’s intensive work over 2011-2013 supporting data protection reform led to an improvement of several important elements of the original European Commission proposal by the European Parliament committee responsible for the dossier agreement, one of EDRi's longstanding demands.

We think, we say, we do

EDRi was the only organisation that was invited to speak at two panels of the Internet 2013 Conference of the OSCE. EDRi spoke about copyright enforcement and “self-regulation” by internet intermediaries.

A strong vote

The Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament holds a crucial vote to strengthen data protection rules

Happy Birthday to us!

EDRi celebrates its 10th anniversary with Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission.

2012

Adios Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)

Along with EDRi, many NGOs and international organisations advocated for the rejection of ACTA, which was a plurilateral agreement for the purpose of establishing international standards for the enforcement of intellectual property rights. It aimed to establish an international legal framework for targeting counterfeit goods and medicines and copyright infringements on the Internet. After months of debates, a large majority of Parliamentarians voted against the adoption.

After the Big Dogs

EDRi member Digitale Gesellschaft launched a campaign against Vodafone’s net neutrality violations (halbesnetz.de).

Europe demands

Several tens of thousands of citizens from an estimated 200 cities in Europe went out in the streets on 11 February 2012, in a massive pan-European protest against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade (ACTA) and to support digital civil rights.

Setting standards since 2012

EDRi finalises it's work on the Advisory Board of the UNESCO study on global privacy standards.

Busted!

EDRi publishes secret documents of the Clean IT project that showed plans for large-scale, undemocratic surveillance of all communications.

Data protection

The EU Commission proposes a reform of the 1995 Data Protection Directive.

2011

Regulating national politics

The Czech Constitutional court accepted EDRi member IURE’s constitutional complaint supported by 53 Members of the Parliament and cancelled national data retention regulation. This act is important for the interpretation of the text when searching for the limits of right to privacy in the Czech Republic.

ACT accordingly

European Parliament rejects the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

Dialogue on download

EDRi participates in the EU’s Stakeholders' Dialogue on Illegal Up- and Downloading.

No mandatory internet filtering

In 2009, when the initiative was re-launched by the Commission, EDRi’s newly-opened office led a campaign at national and European level. EDRi urged Parliamentarians to vote against mandatory web blocking as it would have hidden serious crimes instead of deleting the material and prosecuting the perpetrators. In June 2011, the Parliament rejected mandatory blocking.

2010

EDRi saves the day

EDRi stopped the proposal for mandatory EU-wide web blocking.

Supporting leaders

EDRi member Access Now were finalists at the European Union’s 2010 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought!

It's all connected

EDRi participates in the High Level Expert Group of the EU Commission on the Internet of Things.

Bigger and better

EDRi grows to 29 member organisations.

And the winner is

EDRi organises the European Data Protection Award.

2009

Inspiring good policy

EDRi member Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR) produced a report, Database State, for the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust. The key liberal and Quaker charity criticised several government IT systems for being unsafe and illegal. This report became Liberal Democrat policy, and once they were in power, some of it was implemented.

New Media Expert

EDRi is accredited with an observer status to the Council of Europe Committee of experts on New Media.

Home sweet home

EDRi Brussels office opens in Brussels, Belgium

2008

Digital rights are fundamental rights

EDRi attends first meeting of the Fundamental Rights Platform alongside around 100 other NGOs in Vienna, Austria

Retaining rights

EDRi signs the amicus curiae brief initiated by Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung to ask the EU Court of Justice to annul data retention

2007

On the streets

EDRi members CCC, FIfF, FoeBuD and Netzwerk Neue Medien co-corganise the largest anti-surveillance street protest in Germany in 20 years.

Recognised expert

EDRi participates in the EU Commission’s RFID Expert Group

2006

On the watch

The European Parliament asked Statewatch to host all the documents from their inquiry into ‘rendition’ – that is, the CIA’s global kidnapping and torture programme, as part of the ‘war on terror’ – on their website. This provided a major resource for those trying to expose and challenge what was going on.

Internet Governance

EDRi participates in the first global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Greece

25 members

EDRi grows to 25 members in 16 countries

We said, back off US

EDRi welcomes the annulment by the European Court of Justice of the EU-US agreement on the transfer of passenger name records (PNR)

Data Directed

The Data Retention Directive is adopted

2005

Kicking some a**s

EDRi helps defeat the Software Patents proposal.

Taking over the world

EDRi writes a special edition of the EDRi-gram live from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)

What the Hack

EDRi launches a broad campaign against the EU's Data Retention proposal at the "What The Hack" conference

IT-Pol for the win!

EDRi member IT-Political Association of Denmark (IT-Pol) successfully advocated for a resolution (B-103) for open standards in IT systems used by the government, which the Parliament adopted unanimously.

2004

Interwebz

EDRi launches a new website and logo

Standing united against data retention

EDRi and 90 civil rights organisations from across the globe sign a statement against the plans for mandatory data retention in the EU.

Back off US

EDRi signs a TACD resolution against the transfer of airline Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to US government agencies

IP Baby

EU adopts the contested Directive for the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRED)

2003

Ladies and gentlemen, EDRi presents

EDRi presents the Big Brother Awards in 14 different countries

Starting a tradition

First EDRi-gram is published

It’s EDRi, pleased to meet you!

EDRi is formally registered as Belgian NGO

2002

Electronic Frontier Norway (EFN) in the spotlight

In the “DVD Jon” court case, Jon Lech Johansen was sued and arrested for decrypting a DVD copy control system to view DVDs on the Linux operating system and for writing the programme that enabled the availability on the internet. EDRi member EFN advocated for his acquittal and full redress, which brought EFN national media attention in 2001-2002.

Once upon a time: The Beginning

Ten civil rights groups from across Europe come together to found European Digital Rights (EDRi): Bits of Freedom (NL) Chaos Computer Club (DE) Digital Rights (DK), EFFi (FI), FIPR (UK), Fitug (DE), IRIS (FR), Privacy International (UK) Quintessenz (AT), VIBE!AT (AT)