This is the fourth article of the series “EDRi member in the Spotlight” in which our members have the opportunity to introduce themselves and their work in depth.
Today we introduce our Finnish member Electronic Frontier Finland (Effi).
Effi’s Chairman Timo Karjalainen and the Winston Smith trophy, and Vice Chairman Leena Romppainen with the 2016 Big Brother Award.
1. Who are you and what is your organisation’s goal and mission?
We are Electronic Frontier Finland (Effi), the Finnish digital rights organisation. We focuse on all kinds of digital rights issues including, but not limited to freedom of speech, privacy, cyber intelligence, information security, copyright, open data, and digital public services.
2. How did it all begin, and how did your organisation develop its work?
This year Effi celebratesits 15th anniversary. Effi was founded on 5 September 2001, after a young researcher had been on exchange in USA. The founders of Effi were impressed with Electronic Frontier Foundation <https://www.eff.org/> and decided that Finland needed its own digital rights organisation. Effi is also a founding member of EDRi.
Our membership has stabilised to approximately 1500 members, which is very good considering the entire population of the country is about 5,5 million. Our activities are funded by membership fees and donations.
Effi has become the leading digital rights organisation in Finland: we are contacted whenever media needs comments on our topics, parliament committees request statements on legislation- and when citizens ask for our help when faced with digital rights issues.
Having functioned so far as an entirely volunteer-based organisation, we have grown bigger, and we are now looking forward to hiring some part-time staff to help us become more efficient and to further develop our work.
3. The biggest opportunity created by advancements in information and communication technology is…
… the collaboration between people all around the world that makes amazing things possible. We are living in an era of unprecedented opportunities in many ways.
4. The biggest threat created by advancements in information and communication technology is…
… that monitoring digital communication is too easy, governments are too willing to snoop, and power over the internet is rather unbalanced. Big companies like Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft are in many ways training people not to care.
5. Which are the biggest victories/successes/achievements of your organisation?
“Lex Nokia” counter ads on TV in 2009 that generated lots of public discussion. For a long time, there were significant efforts to push through legislation regarding e-voting, but it is not on the current government’s agenda, in large part thanks to us.
6. If your organisation could now change one thing in your country, what would that be?
We’d love for ordinary people to be more aware of digital rights issues.
7. What is the biggest challenge your organisation is currently facing in your country?
The hot topic in Finland in 2016 in our field is cyber intelligence legislation, i.e. snooping law, which is being pushed forward by current government. The opportunity to affect this national level legislation is the EU General Data Protection Regulation, and the changes it brings.
8. How can one get in touch with you if they want to help as a volunteer, or donate to support your work?
Electronic Frontier Finland (Effi)
Effi Facebook page
Member in the spotlight series
(Contribution by EDRi member Electronic Frontier Finland, Finland)