De laatste week van Hans de Zwart

Bits of Freedom launches online shop to celebrate 20 year anniversary

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We believeĀ an open and just society is only possible when people can participate in public life without fear of repercussions. The right to privacy and freedom of expression are at the core of this. We fight for these fundamental rights by contributing to strong legislation, by championing the potential of the Internet to inform and emancipate, and by holding those in power to account.

Our work: past, present and future

Looking back over twenty years, some things don't seem to have changed much. Data retention, internet filters and breaking encryption are still among the go-to "solutions" policy makers propose to not-very-clearly defined problems. Although our arguments in response to these knee-jerk reactions at the core remain the same, the environment in which we put them forth is ever-evolving. Similarly, even though the Netherlands was the first European country to commit net neutrality to law, we are very aware that we will need to continue to fight for equal treatment of all internet traffic.

Some things do change. There is growing awareness for the work of digital rights organisations, and our movement is gaining in size and strength. More and more people are willing to take action. 2020 will most likely be the year in which more than 50% of Bits of Freedom's work will be funded by individuals. And not a moment too late. Our field of work is expanding and civil society actors concerned with our topics are still few and far apart. We need to expand to be able to deal with the increasing attention for our topics, especially in Brussels.

Online shop

But first we celebrate. To commemorate this milestone, we launched our very first online shop, including a new line of merchandise modeled by four individuals who, all in their own way, have contributed to Bits of Freedom's work.

More of a reader than a shopper?

If you're less of a shopper and more of a reader, perhaps you'll enjoy learning about some of our recent work. This year, we helped thousands of individuals in Europe gain more control over their data, we called out Facebook for lying to Parliament, we fought for a better copyright law, we analysed the state of play with regards to the sharing of unevaluated (bulk) data by the Dutch secret services, we published our plea to fix our communications ecosystem instead of focussing on symptoms, and we combined free tech and a freely accessible webcam stream to create the ultimate stalker tool - and raise awareness for the problems around facial recognition in public space. And of course we published our annual review of 2018.

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