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Digitalcourage works for a liveable world in the digital age.
Since 1987, Digitalcourage (previously named FoeBuD) advocates for fundamental rights, privacy and protecting personal data. We are a group of people from a variety of backgrounds who explore technology and politics with a critical mindset, and who want to shape both with a focus on human dignity.
We do not want our democracy to be “datafied” and sold out. We work against a society that turns people into targets for marketing, regards them as dispensable in times of a shrinking state, and places them under suspicion as potential terrorists. We stand for a living democracy.
Digitalcourage informs through publicity, speeches, events and congenial interventions. Every year we bestow the German Big Brother Awards (“Oscars for data leeches”). We contribute our expertise to the political process – sometimes without being invited.
More details in English on our background and history can be found on Wikipedia.
Click the triangles or the headlines to expand any item.
An important theme underlying much of what we do is to create an atmosphere that is conducive for political engagement – whether it is in our own environment or as support to like-minded activists from elsewhere.
We run online services for the community, including an instance of the collaborative text editor Etherpad, a censor-free DNS nameserver and a Tor exit node to support the well-known network for anonymous surfing. Our online shop (partial English content) exists not only to sell merchandise but also to distribute materials for free events or friend organisations.
Digitalcourage is a member of European Digital Rights, a Brussels-based NGO that facilitates communication with European policy makers and brings us together with NGOs from Europe and beyond.
We organise an annual gathering of German activists (AKtiVCongrEZ) and contribute substantially to the organisation of the annual European barcamp Freedom not Fear (held in Brussels every autumn since 2012).
We believe that political activism can be fun and rewarding, which is why our interventions tend to be playful despite the gravity of our concerns.
We raise our voice for civil society, doing work that we regard as an antidote to lobbying on behalf of industries and their special interests. The activities involved are much the same: we talk to politicians, we visit the EU Parliament and Commission in Brussels, we write letters or provide template letters to the public, and we support people that are in the political arena to work for the common good.
We have a regular and long-standing presence at the annual Chaos Communication Congress, and we also like to reach out beyond our bubble and participate in events like the annual “alternative police congress”, party conventions or church gatherings. We make our knowledge available in keynotes, speeches, and lectures,
Through our website, an email newsletter (1–2 issues per month) and contacts with print and broadcast media, we work to keep the public informed and raise a voice for our issues in the political debate. (Our regularly published content is in German.)
We provide information, recommendations and practical advice for digital self-defence to make people’s digital lives more private and free. Some of these resources are specifically made for younger people.
Sometimes, despite all our efforts, political decisions cause unacceptable damage to fundamental rights and violate legal principles. That is why we sometimes have to go to the courts. We contribute organisational support, funding and research to such cases, most notably to complaints at the German Federal Constitutional Court.
Non-diverse communities tend to overlook mechanisms that can exclude certain groups. We take steps to ensure our texts are addressed to women as much as men, and we work to reduce discrimination elsewhere – online and offline.
Big Brother Awards (English content)
Starting in 2000, every year we recognise several “companies, institutions and persons who act in a prominent and sustained way to invade people's privacy or malhandle (personal) data”. Our award speeches are fully documented, and for more than 10 years we have translated most of our coverage into English.
Recent articles in English
Is it just a luxury problem to worry about surveillance? Why do people give up their basic liberties for a lentil dish?
As of August 2, 2021, all new German ID cards will require citizens to provide two fingerprints upon application. This mandatory measure is not only unnecessary but disrespectful to all citizens. Act now!
The EU Commission has hired a consulting company to conduct a study on mass retention of telephone and internet data. What we know of the contract makes us suspect that study will be biased.
The coucil of the EU is currently planning to abuse the upcoming ePrivacy regulation to facilitate blanket data retention. For this purpose, the judgement of the CJEU is deliberately misinterpreted.
The ePrivacy regulation aims to protect privacy in electronic communications. But lobby groups are sabotaging it and the Council of the EU is delaying its adoption. Six organisations from several European countries are calling for a strong ePrivacy Regulation. The protection of our privacy is more important than the wish of private enterprises to exploit the value of our data!
Together with our Czech partner organisation IURE and the Polish Panoptykon Foundation, we strongly criticize the planned preventive automatic facial recognition in the border region of the German federal state of Saxony, the Czech Republic and Poland.
Anyone who is concerned with surveillance will hear this statement over and over again. Though dangerous and false, it is very persistent. And we are fed up with it. Ten points against the notion that you have “nothing to hide”.
Embedded metadata can reveal who edited a document. We tested the Metadata Anonymization Tookit (MAT – included in Tails, a Linux version for anonymous communication) to see how such metadata can be removed. We found and reported a security issue. The MAT developers intend to get this fixed now.