Cindy Cohn speaks about privacy, EFF's lawsuit against AT&T and e-voting at the Working Assets Speaker Series.
From the Internet to the iPod, technologies are transforming our society and empowering us as speakers, citizens, creators, and consumers. When our freedoms in the networked world come under attack, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is the first line of defense. EFF broke new ground when it was founded in 1990 well before the Internet was on most people's radar and continues to confront cutting-edge issues defending free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights today. From the beginning, EFF has championed the public interest in every critical battle affecting digital rights.
Blending the expertise of lawyers, policy analysts, activists, and technologists, EFF achieves significant victories on behalf of consumers and the general public. EFF fights for freedom primarily in the courts, bringing and defending lawsuits even when that means taking on the US government or large corporations. By mobilizing more than 50,000 concerned citizens through our Action Center, EFF beats back bad legislation. In addition to advising policymakers, EFF educates the press and public. Sometimes just defending technologies isn't enough, so EFF also supports the development of freedom-enhancing inventions- Electronic Frontier Foundation
Cindy Cohn is the Legal Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation as well as its General Counsel. She is responsible for overseeing the EFF's overall legal strategy and supervising EFF's 7 staff attorneys. EFF continues to be actively involved wherever freedom and civil liberties are at stake online.
Ms. Cohn first became involved with the EFF in 1995, when the EFF asked her to serve as the lead attorney in Bernstein v. Dept. of Justice, the successful federal court challenge to the U.S. export restrictions on cryptography. That case was the first to hold that source code was protected expression subject to protection under the First Amendment. The Bernstein case was one of the major catalysts for decision by the U.S. government in January, 2000, to dramatically loosen its restrictions on the export of encryption software. It has also served as the foundation for the now settled caselaw requiring that government attempts to regulate or restrict computer programs require 1st Amendment analysis.
Outside the Courts, Ms. Cohn has testified before Congress, been featured in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere for her work on cyberspace issues, interviewed on the BBC, NPR, CNN, CBS News and the Newshour, Economist, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and many other online and offline media outlets. In 2006, Ms. Cohn was named one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America by the National Law Journal. In 2001, Ms. Cohn and the EFF were honored by the Editorial Board of Daily Journal. In 1997, Ms. Cohn was named as one of the "Lawyers of the Year" by California Lawyer magazine.
Ms. Cohn is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School. She did her undergraduate studies at the University of Iowa and the London School of Economics. For 10 years prior to joining the EFF, she was a civil litigator in private practice handling Internet- related cases.
Before starting private practice, she worked for a year at the United Nations Centre for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. Ms. Cohn also serves on the Board of Directors of the nonprofits Human Rights Advocates and the Verified Voting Foundation.