Democracy & Free Speech

Free speech and privacy protections are essential to civic life and to healthy democratic processes. EPIC works to ensure that technology laws and oversight mechanisms protect our rights and support principles of democratic governance.


The right to privacy is deeply intertwined with civic engagement, the health of democratic institutions, and the fight for racial and social justice. Without the secret ballot, voters may face intimidation, reprisals, and the risk of tainted elections. Without census confidentiality measures, the public may be deterred from providing the candid answers needed for a fair and accurate enumeration. Without anonymity or associational privacy, protestors and donors may be chilled from registering their support for causes they believe in. Without the right to read or safeguards against online abuse, individuals cannot safely engage in the free exchange of information and ideas. And without focusing on the special threats that surveillance, data collection, and algorithmic discrimination pose to marginalized populations, we cannot ensure privacy or democratic participation for all.

  • Access to Information

    The right to access information without state interference is essential to privacy and free expression.

  • Anonymity

    The ability to remain anonymous when communicating or expressing oneself protects individuals from retaliation and dissenting ideas from suppression.

  • Census Privacy

    Protecting the confidentiality of personally identifying census data safeguards the privacy of respondents and ensures a more accurate enumeration.

  • Donor Privacy

    Since Alabama v. NAACP (1958), courts have recognized a First Amendment right to anonymously support and associate with organizations.

  • Online Harassment

    Platforms and technologies used for online connection are also an avenue for online harassment and abuse, often fueled with private images and details.

  • Privacy & Racial Justice

    The harms of surveillance, data collection, and algorithmic discrimination often fall hardest on black, brown, and other marginalized populations.

  • Voter Privacy

    Secrecy and privacy in elections guard against coercion and are essential to the integrity of the electoral process.

Contact EPIC’s Experts on Democracy & Free Speech

Explore the History of Democracy & Free Speech

Browse amicus briefs, documentation obtained through FOIA litigation, historic and recent agency comments, and archival materials related to EPIC’s democracy & free speech work.

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