EFF Europe Office Opens in Brussels
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) opened a new office in Brussels today to work with various institutions of the European Union (EU) on innovation and digital rights, acting as a watchdog for the public interest in intellectual property and civil liberties policy initiatives that impact the European digital environment.
The new EFF Europe office, made possible by the generous support of the Open Society Institute and Mr. Mark Shuttleworth of the Shuttleworth Foundation, will allow EFF to have an increased focus on the development of EU law. EFF also plans to expand its efforts in European digital activism and looks forward to working with many groups and organizations to fight effectively for consumers' and technologists' interests. EFF's new European Affairs Coordinator, Erik Josefsson, will be an on-the-ground analyst, activist, and educator about critical intellectual property and civil liberties issues.
"In a networked world, protecting innovation and digital rights must be a global effort," Josefsson said. "We hope this new office in Brussels will increase awareness of European developments and enrich the policy debate."
Josefsson was previously the president of the Swedish chapter of Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII.se). FFII was instrumental in defeating the proposed Software Patents Directive, which would have brought an expanded software patent scheme to Europe. Josefsson has also worked with European Digital Rights (EDRI) and other European groups in fighting against the European Parliament's adoption of the Data Retention Directive, which threatens to undo the existing pro-consumer privacy protections in Europe. In recent months, Josefsson has been part of a team of committed FFII activists opposing the proposed second Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED2), which will impose harsh criminal sanctions and prison terms for violation of intellectual property rights, stifling technical innovation and imperiling consumers if not amended.
"Europe is at the forefront of policy developments that threaten Internet users' freedom, from unwarranted copyright term extension to mandatory data retention," said EFF International Affairs Director Gwen Hinze. "We welcome the valuable European educational and activism expertise that Erik brings to EFF Europe, and we are excited about this new opportunity to represent the public interest in the formative stages of European policy development."
Josefsson will be supported in EFF's San Francisco office by Danny O'Brien, EFF's Activism Coordinator, whose past experience includes digital rights work in the United Kingdom. Josefsson will be succeeded as president of FFII Sweden by Jonas Bosson, who was one of the founders of the organization and will continue to fight new attempts to make software patents enforceable in Europe.