Interview - Lee Tien

Interview: Lee Tien, Senior Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation: 25th July 2003

In keeping with Media Man Australia's tradition of tackling any subject, we explore the world of consumer rights in an online environment.

Mr. Lee Tien speaks at length about consumer rights and how the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is working to protect the rights of consumers who use technologies like the Internet and the World Wide Web.

It is a safe assumption that some organisations and government agencies would prefer that you did not know the information shared in this discussion.

Lee in his role at the EFF specializes in privacy, free speech & freedom of information.

This is Greg Tingle reporting for Media Man Australia. We're speaking with Lee Tien from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Welcome to the program Lee.

Thank you.

Thank you. So in this interesting world we live in, with websites gone berserk, the EFF has been developed. What in fact does the EFF do Lee?

Well, we are a non profit, public interest organisation based in San Francisco, and we are just generally devoted to protecting the individual rights... We started out in the area of computer hacking, computer crime, free speech and privacy. In the last few years I guess beginning in 1999 we really became to get into the area of intellectual property, copyright, the Copyright Act, because we began to get concerned about the way our public cultural was being appropriated by from content producers, the recording industry and this was being built into hardware and software that everyone was not going to be able to understand. We are just in a number of different areas whether it be censorship or intellectual, surveillance...

I see, so what was the general public and companies doing before yourselves came along and legal issues and so on began to be encountered?


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Editors note: Perhaps the most interesting, if not fascinating, aspects of legal issues facing the modern world today. This interview will be transcribed in its entirety as time permits. In the meantime, the official EEF website is a wealth of information.


Electronic Frontier Foundation official website

Electronic Frontiers Australia

Media Man Australia interviews Derick Wilding, Communications Law Centre - 18th July 2003

Media Man Australia interviews Jayne Hitchcock, Cybercrime expert - 23rd June 2003

File-sharers fight legal moves - BBC News - 28th July 2003

Fur to fly over file sharing - Sydney Morning Herald - 29th July 2003

File-sharers can find out if they are being targeted by the US record industry via a website created by civil liberty activists.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, (EFF), has set up an online database which allows people to check if a subpoena has been issued for them by the Recording Industry Association of America, (RIAA).

"We hope that EFF's subpoena database will give people some peace of mind and the information they need to challenge these subpoenas and protect their privacy." (Senior lawyer, Fred Von Lohmann)

"The recording industry continues its futile crusade to sue thousands of the more than 60 million people who use file-sharing software in the US". (Senior lawyer, Fred Von Lohmann)

Together with the US Internet Industry Association, the EFF has established a website called which has details of lawyers and other valuable legal resources.


About the EFF (courtesy of the Electronic Frontier Foundation website):

If America's founding fathers had anticipated the digital frontier, there would be a clause in the Constitution protecting your rights online, as well.

Instead, a modern group of freedom fighters was necessary to extend the original vision into the digital world.

That's where the Electronic Frontier Foundation comes in.

Just as Patriots fought for liberty and freedom, we fight measures that threaten basic human rights. Only the dominion we defend is the vast wealth of digital information, innovation, and technology that resides online.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is comprised of passionate people — lawyers, volunteers, and visionaries — working in the trenches, battling to protect your rights and the rights of web surfers everywhere. The dedicated people of EFF challenge legislation that threatens to put a price on what is invaluable; to control what must remain boundless.

Electronic Frontier Foundation: Because being able to share ideas and information is the reason the Web was created in the first place!