MDF’s Privacy & Surveillance Fund supports work to combat oppressive overreach in corporate and government surveillance
MDF believes that a constantly surveilled society is not a free and open society. Surveillance is nothing new: governments around the world have, to varying degrees, always kept watch over their citizens and visitors. Yet as we increasingly rely on digital technology to communicate with one another, the sheer scale of the potential for dragnet surveillance of an entire population has become an existential threat to culture and civil society. Today, corporations constantly track the movements and buying patterns of their potential customers, and mining and selling personal data obtained during routine web use has become a large-scale industry. After the National Security Agency’s massive domestic surveillance programs were revealed in 2013, MDF began organizing support for a coordinated public response based on the principles of privacy and personal security. Over the last several years, our grantees have worked to educate the public and policymakers about the importance of privacy for freedom of expression and other human rights, and organized protests such as The Day We Fight Back to demonstrate support for these values.