• 2019-10-14 初稿
  • 2019-10-30 发布
  • 2019-11-01 修正漏译的那一句,见评论区
  • 2019-11-08 修正几处明显的翻译错误,见评论区


本篇文章翻译自 eff.org 官网上的 A History of Protecting Freedom Where Law and Technology Collide


A History of Protecting Freedom Where Law and Technology Collide


The Electronic Frontier Foundation was founded in July of 1990 in response to a basic threat to speech.

电子前哨基金会成立于 1990 年 7 月,皆在应对基本的言论威胁。

The United States Secret Service conducted a series of raids tracking the distribution of a document illegally copied from a BellSouth computer that described how the emergency 911 system worked, referred to as the E911 document.

美国特勤局进行了一系列的突击搜查,追踪一份来自南方贝尔公司电脑非法复制文档的分发情况。这份文档描述了紧急 911系统的工作原理,称之为E911文档。

The Secret Service believed that if “hackers” knew how to use the telephone lines set aside for receiving emergency phone calls, the lines would become overloaded and people facing true emergencies would be unable to get through.


One of the alleged recipients of the E911 document was the systems operator at a small games book publisher out of Austin, Texas, named Steve Jackson Games.

E911 文档的嫌疑接收者之一,是德克萨斯州奥斯汀市史蒂夫·杰克逊游戏的小型游戏图书发行商的系统操作员。

The Secret Service executed a warrant against the innocent Jackson and took all electronic equipment and copies of an upcoming game book from Steve Jackson Games’ premises.


Steve Jackson panicked as he watched the deadline come and go for his latest release and still hadn’t received his computers back.


He was forced to lay off nearly half of his staff.


In the end, the Secret Service returned all of Steve Jackson’s computers and decided not to press charges against the company, since they were unable to find any copies of the E911 document on any of the computers.

最后,特勤局归还了史蒂夫·杰克逊所有的计算机,因为他们无法在任何计算机上找到 E911 文档的任何副本,所以就决定不对这家公司提起诉讼。

"EFF's original logo, in use from 1990-2018

EFF’s original logo, in use from 1990-2018

In the meantime, Steve Jackson’s business was nearly ruined.


And when he and his employees had the opportunity to investigate the returned computers, they noticed that all of the electronic mail that had been stored on the company’s electronic bulletin board computer, where non-employee users had dialed in and sent personal messages to one another, had been individually accessed and deleted.

当他和他的员工们事后调查归还的计算机时,他们注意到特勤局访问并删除了所有存储在公司 BBS 上的电子邮件,而这些电子邮件是用户用来相互通信用的。

Steve Jackson was furious, as he believed his rights as a publisher had been violated and the free speech and privacy rights of his users had been violated.


Steve Jackson tried desperately to find a civil liberties group to help him, to no avail.


Unfortunately, none of the existing groups understood the technology well enough to understand the importance of the issues.


In an electronic community called the Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link (now WELL.com) several informed technologists understood exactly what civil liberties issues were involved.


Mitch Kapor, former president of Lotus Development Corporation, John Perry Barlow, Wyoming cattle rancher and lyricist for the Grateful Dead, and John Gilmore, an early employee of Sun Microsystems, decided to do something about it.


They formed an organization to work on civil liberties issues raised by new technologies.


On the day they formally unveiled the new organization, they announced that they were representing Steve Jackson Games and several of the company’s bulletin board users in a lawsuit they were bringing against the United States Secret Service.

在电子前哨基金会宣布正式成立的当天,他们宣布他们代表史蒂夫·杰克逊游戏公司和几位公司的 BBS 用户,对美国特勤局提起了诉讼。

The Electronic Frontier Foundation was born!


The Steve Jackson Games case turned out to be an extremely important one in the development of a proper legal framework for cyberspace.


For the first time, a court held that electronic mail deserves at least as much protection as telephone calls.


We take for granted today that law enforcement must have a warrant that particularly describes all electronic mail messages before seizing and reading them.


The Steve Jackson Games case established that principle.

而正是史蒂夫·杰克逊游戏案确立了这一 判例。

The Electronic Frontier Foundation continues to take on cases that set important precedents for the treatment of rights in cyberspace.


In our second big case, Bernstein v. U.S. Dept. of Justice, the United States government prohibited a University of California mathematics Ph.D. student from publishing on the Internet an encryption computer program he had created.


Encryption is a method for scrambling messages so they can only be understood by their intended recipients.


Years before, the government had placed encryption on the United States Munitions List, alongside bombs and flamethrowers, as a weapon to be regulated for national security purposes.


Companies and individuals exporting items on the munitions list, including software with encryption capabilities, had to obtain prior State Department approval.


Encryption export restrictions crippled American businesses and damaged the free speech rights of individuals.


Critical for ecommerce, companies use encryption to safeguard sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, which they send or receive over electronic networks.


Companies also secure access to software programs and provide system security using encryption.


By limiting the export of encryption, technologies, and methods, the U.S. government drove development of security software overseas, where American companies were unable to compete.

通过限制加密、技术和方法的出口,美国政府将安全软件的开发逼到了海外,使得美国公司无法与国外公司竞争 。

The State Department was unsympathetic to Bernstein’s situation and told Bernstein he would need a license to be an arms dealer before he could simply post the text of his encryption program on the Internet.


They also told him that they would deny him an export license if he actually applied for one, because his technology was too secure.


The Electronic Frontier Foundation pulled together a top-notch legal team and sued the United States government on behalf of Dan Bernstein.


The court ruled, for the first time ever, that written software code is speech protected by the First Amendment.


The court further ruled that the export control laws on encryption violated Bernstein’s First Amendment rights by prohibiting his constitutionally protected speech.

法院进一步裁定,有关加密技术出口管制的法律 禁止伯恩斯坦发表受宪法保护的言论,因此侵犯了伯恩斯坦的第一修正案权利。

As a result, the government changed its export regulations.


Now everyone has the right to “export” encryption software – by publishing it on the Internet – without prior permission from the U.S. government.


Once again, the Electronic Frontier Foundation led the charge to establish important cyberspace rights.


Today’s Issues

While many early battles over the right to communicate freely and privately stemmed from government censorship, today EFF is fighting for users on many other fronts as well.

虽然早期许多关于自由和私密通讯权利的斗争源于政府的审查制度,但今天 EFF 也在许多其他领域为用户而战。

Today, certain powerful corporations are attempting to shut down online speech, prevent new innovation from reaching consumers, and facilitating government surveillance.


We challenge corporate overreach just as we challenge government abuses of power.


We also develop technologies that can help individuals protect their privacy and security online, which our technologists build and release freely to the public for anyone to use.


In addition, EFF is engaged in major legislative fights, beating back digital censorship bills disguised as intellectual property proposals, opposing attempts to force companies to spy on users, championing reform bills that rein in government surveillance, and much more.

此外,EFF 还参与了重大的立法斗争,阻止伪装成知识产权法案的网络审查法案通过,反击强迫公司监视用户的企图, 力推改革限制政府监视的法案,等等。

We are working with advocates worldwide to create a global digital environment that upholds both human rights and Constitutional rights, and we continue to take on cutting-edge legal cases to win victories for user rights.