ⓘ European Digital Rights


ⓘ European Digital Rights

European Digital Rights is an international advocacy group headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. EDRi was founded in June 2002 in Berlin by ten NGOs from seven countries. In March 2015, the European Council adopted a proposal that may compromise net neutrality, a major concern of EDRi.


1. History

European Digital Rights EDRi is a not-for-profit association registered in Belgium.

European Digital Rights was founded in June 2002 as a result of a growing awareness of the importance of European policy making in the digital environment. European Digital Rights was created in response to some of the earliest challenges in this policy area.

Its founding board members were Maurice Wessling from Bits of Freedom, Andy Muller-Maguhn from the Chaos Computer Club and Meryem Marzouki from Imaginons un Reseau Internet Solidaire. Since inception, EDRi has grown significantly. The current President is Anna Fielder.

In October 2014, 34 privacy and civil rights organisations from 19 different countries in Europe have EDRi membership, and the organisation continues to grow. The need for cooperation among digital rights organisations active in Europe continues to increase as more regulation regarding the Internet, copyright and privacy is proposed by European institutions, or by international institutions with strong effect in Europe.


2. Activities

EDRis objective is to promote, protect and uphold civil rights in the field of information and communication technology. This includes many issues relating to privacy and digital rights, from data retention to copyright and software patents, from the right to data protection and privacy to freedom of speech online, from privatised enforcement to cybersecurity.

EDRi provides a strong civil society voice and platform to ensure that European policy, which affects the digital environment, is in line with fundamental rights.

Recently, EDRi highlighted fundamental rights issues in the current collective rights management regime and privacy implications of online tracking. The organisation continues to defend citizens right to private copying, air travellers privacy and the right to freedom of expression in the notice and takedown debates in Europe. It supports improving citizens access to audiovisual online content and promotes a legal protection of Net neutrality in Europe. EDRi also fights for an update of copyright in the digital era and against blanket retention of communications data. EDRis key priorities are currently privacy, surveillance, net neutrality and copyright reform.

In addition to regular publications, such as booklets known as the EDRi papers”, EDRi publishes yearly reports and a bi-weekly newsletter about digital civil rights in Europe, the EDRi-gram.


3. Campaigns

EDRi launches campaigns to increase public awareness on issues related to information and communication technologies discussed both in the European institutions and on a global level.

Among key campaigns launched by European Digital Rights are, in 2003 and 2011, against Passenger Name Records PNR, in 2005, against Data retention and in 2010 and in favour of a copyright reform. EDRi actively participated in the vast campaign against ACTA which successfully ended with the rejection of the proposal by the European Parliament in July 2012. During the European elections 2014, EDRi led an innovative campaign to raise the profile of digital rights issues. To this end, EDRis members drafted a 10-point Charter of Digital Rights that candidates running for the European Parliament could promise to defend. Amongst these principles following are included: promotion of transparency and citizen participation, the support for data protection and privacy, unrestricted access to the Internet, an update for copyright legislation, promotion of online anonymity and encryption, multistakeholderism, and open source software.

European Digital Rights and its members are currently fighting for a European Data Protection Regulation. Through an important awareness-raising campaign, citizens are able to contact Members of the European Parliament representing their country in order to ask them to defend fundamental rights to privacy and data protection.


4. Members

Statutory membership is restricted to not-for-profit, non-governmental organisations whose goals include the defence and promotion of civil rights in the field of information- and communication technology. The member organisations of European Digital Rights are:


5. Support

EDRi is financed by membership fees and donations from the public. The organisation receives funding from the Open Society Foundations and the Adessium Foundation.