European Digital Rights

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European Digital Rights
Edri logo-new.png
Formation2002, Berlin, Germany
TypeInternational non-profit association
PurposePrivacy, Data Protection, Net Neutrality, Copyright
HeadquartersBrussels, Belgium
Claire Fernandez[1]

European Digital Rights (EDRi) is an international advocacy group headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. EDRi is a network collective of NGOs, experts, advocates and academics working to defend and advance digital rights across the continent. For almost two decades, it has served as the backbone of the digital rights movement in Europe. In March 2021, EDRi is made of 44 NGOs,[2] as well as experts, advocates and academics from all across Europe.


EDRi's mission is to challenge private and state actors who abuse their power to control or manipulate the public. They do so by advocating for robust and enforced laws, informing and mobilising people, promoting a healthy and accountable technology market, and building a movement of organisations and individuals committed to digital rights and freedoms in a connected world.[3]


European Digital Rights (EDRi) is a not-for-profit association registered in Belgium.

EDRi was founded in June 2002 in Berlin by ten NGOs from seven countries, as a result of a growing awareness of the importance of European policy making in the digital environment. European Digital Rights was created in response to some of the earliest challenges in this policy area. Its founding board members were Maurice Wessling from Bits of Freedom, Andy Müller-Maguhn from the Chaos Computer Club and Meryem Marzouki from Imaginons un Réseau Internet Solidaire. Since inception, EDRi has grown significantly.

In October 2014, 34 privacy and civil rights organisations from 19 different countries in Europe had EDRi membership, and the organisation continued to grow. The need for cooperation among digital rights organisations active in Europe was increasing as more regulation regarding the Internet, copyright and privacy is proposed by European institutions, or by international institutions with strong effect in Europe.[4]

In March 2021, EDRi is made of 44 NGOs,[2] as well as experts, advocates and academics from all across Europe.

The current President of the Board of EDRi is Anna Fielder, Vice President is Thomas Lohninger.[5]


EDRi's booklet - How the Internet works

EDRi's objective is to promote, protect, and uphold civil rights in the field of information and communication technology. This includes many issues relating to privacy and digital rights, from data retention to copyright and software patents, from the right to data protection and privacy to freedom of speech online, from privatised enforcement to cybersecurity.[6][7]

EDRi provides a strong civil society voice and platform to ensure that European policy, which affects the digital environment, is in line with fundamental rights.[8]

Recently, EDRi highlighted fundamental rights issues in the current collective rights management regime and privacy implications of online tracking. The organisation continues to defend citizens' right to private copying, air travellers' privacy and the right to freedom of expression in the notice and takedown debates in Europe. It supports improving citizens' access to audiovisual online content and promotes a legal protection of Net neutrality in Europe. EDRi also fights for an update of copyright in the digital era and against blanket retention of communications data.[9] EDRi's key priorities are currently privacy, surveillance, net neutrality and copyright reform.[10]

In addition to regular publications, such as booklets known as the "EDRi papers", EDRi publishes yearly reports and a bi-weekly newsletter about digital civil rights in Europe, the EDRi-gram.[11]


EDRi launches campaigns to increase public awareness on issues related to information and communication technologies discussed both in the European institutions and on a global level.[12]

Reclaim Your Face[edit]

Launched in October 2020 [13] and coordinated by EDRi, ReclaimYourFace [14] is a European movement that brings people's voices into the democratic debate about the use of our biometric data. The coalition calls for a prohibition on the use of our most sensitive data for mass surveillance in public spaces due to its impact on our rights and freedoms.

The initiative launched a European Citizens' Initiative in February 2021 and calls on the European Commission to strictly regulate the use of biometric surveillance technologies.

Previous campaigns[edit]

Among key campaigns launched by European Digital Rights are, in 2003 and 2011, against passenger name records (PNRs),[15] in 2005, against data retention and in 2010 and in favour of a copyright reform. EDRi actively participated in the vast campaign against ACTA which successfully ended with the rejection of the proposal by the European Parliament in July 2012. During the European elections 2014, EDRi led an innovative campaign to raise the profile of digital rights issues. To this end, EDRi's members drafted a 10-point Charter of Digital Rights that candidates running for the European Parliament could promise to defend. Amongst these principles following are included: promotion of transparency and citizen participation, the support for data protection and privacy, unrestricted access to the Internet, an update for copyright legislation, promotion of online anonymity and encryption, multistakeholderism, and open source software.

European Digital Rights and its members fought as well for a European Data Protection Regulation. Through an important awareness-raising campaign, citizens were able to contact Members of the European Parliament representing their country in order to ask them to defend fundamental rights to privacy and data protection.

Campaign against ACTA


Statutory membership is restricted to not-for-profit, non-governmental organisations whose goals include the defence and promotion of civil rights in the field of information- and communication technology.[16] The member organisations of European Digital Rights are:

Non-European and international members[edit]

Former members[edit]


EDRi is financed by membership fees and donations from the public.[18] The organisation receives funding from the Open Society Foundations and the Adessium Foundation, as well as some corporate funding.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Digitalcourage was previously named FoeBuD
  2. ^ EFF is a member through their European Office in Brussels


  1. ^ "Welcoming our new Executive Director Claire Fernandez!". 6 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b "The EDRi network".
  3. ^ "EDRi's mission".
  4. ^ "about".
  5. ^ "The EDRi Board".
  6. ^ "Issues". 16 August 2004.
  7. ^ "Romanian version of EU cybersecurity directive allows warrantless access to data". PCWorld. 2014-12-24. Retrieved 2018-04-27.
  8. ^ "EU "e-evidence" proposals turn service providers into judicial authorities". EUBusiness. 2018-04-17. Retrieved 2018-04-27.
  9. ^ "about". EDRi. Retrieved 2019-09-13.
  10. ^ "About EDRI-gram". 27 February 2006.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-05. Retrieved 2013-05-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "RYF launch".
  13. ^ "Reclaim Your Face: Ban Biometric Mass Surveillance!". Reclaim Your Face. Retrieved 2021-03-22.
  14. ^ "Passenger Name Record: EU to harvest more data to stop crime". BBC. 2014-12-24. Retrieved 2016-04-16.
  15. ^ "EDRI Members". EDRI. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  16. ^ "D3 torna-se membro da European Digital Rights (EDRi)".
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-04-24. Retrieved 2013-05-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "Annual Reports". EDRi. Retrieved 2020-06-27.

External links[edit]