EFF's Corynne McSherry

A Day in the Life of an Internet Freedom Fighter

Ever wondered what it’s like on the frontline fighting for Internet freedom? Trust us, it’s by no means an easy task. Every week it seems there’s a new story about how censorship and fragmentation are currently on the rise in some countries.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is at the forefront of this battle to protect our digital freedoms. The work they do behind the scenes to combat censorship and privacy violations rarely makes the headlines. But what do their daily struggles involve?

We decided the best way to find out was to be a fly on the wall, so we asked Legal Director Corynne McSherry what a typical day is like for her.

A day in the life of EFF's Corynne McSherry

Corynne’s Day at EFF

February 2, 2018, San Francisco:


7:00: I’m an early riser, so it doesn’t bother me too much that today my work day starts early, with a coalition call to plan Net Neutrality strategy l bring my trusty companion Ace the dog with me to listen in too. When the call is over, I switch gears and turn to revising an appeal brief on online access to law.

9:30: It’s just over a couple of hours into my day and I take 5-10 minutes to catch my breath before getting on to some research on the Global Data Protection Regulation in preparation for a meeting with EFF’s International Director and team.

11:00: I meet with the Intellectual Property team to review pending cases and legislation, consider potential new matters, and brainstorm some new ideas for public engagement.

12:00: I grab a quick lunch at my desk before drafting a blog post on the use of copyright to censor lawful speech. This is a crucial issue for EFF and the Internet.

13:00: An hour later and I have my weekly meeting with the entire legal team to review pending issues and requests for help, and talk through some of the thorny legal questions we are confronting.

14:00 – 16:45: Meetings are over for the day, so it’s back to writing. Many people think the main job of a lawyer is to stand up in court, but first, you have to make your case to the judge on paper. If your brief is not persuasive, you are unlikely to change the judge’s mind in a hearing. With that in mind, I run through some final edits to my brief on access to law, and share it with the team for their comments—impact litigation is a team sport. While they are reviewing, I work on a draft presentation and one-pager handout on net neutrality, and then do a pre-launch review of updated border search materials.

16:45: It’s time for school pickup and family time. At this point, I try to make sure that I switch off from work so I can focus on the homefront for a bit. I’m not always successful.

19:30: After dinner at home, I’ll switch back to work mode and address any urgent issues that need to be covered, and finally prioritize for next day. And then I might just catch an episode of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel!

All in a Day’s Work

So there you have it. It may not be as glamorous as you may have imagined but the work of the kind that Corynne does on a daily basis is vital to helping the fight to keep the Internet open and free.

It’s clear that we need EFF to continue its hard work to protect Internet freedom. Because it’s a donor-funded, nonprofit organization, EFF also needs us.

Learn more about how you can participate in Move Your Domain Day 2018 on March 6  and throw your support behind EFF.

And be sure to check out our interview with Corynne and Namecheap CEO Rick Kirkendall.

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