If that's the case, then quite a few of us are in trouble. In fact, I would say almost everyone with a blog qualifies to some degree or another. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has long stood up for the rights of those involved in new and social media. As politicians and the law have struggled to understand and come to terms with the changes created by technology, and within media technology itself, the EFF has been there. They have helped champion justice in the electronic frontier, and supported those who blogged anonymously for personal safety -- an important thing. They have helped some of those in the milblog community I do believe. Personally, I've been glad for it and encouraged support for it.
However, this morning I read something rather disturbing over at the Jawa Report. It started with this story about an anti-jihad blogger pulling a fast one on someone determined to out him. It quickly morphed into something more, best seen here.
Jillian York is on the staff of the EFF, as Director for International Freedom of Expression. Her comments in support of outing the anti-jihad blogger because he was an "a****le" are in direct contradiction to the policy of EFF, and all previous precedent. As they appear to have been made in her official capacity, and not personal, I was concerned enough that I e-mailed some of the leadership of the EFF to ask some questions. Questions that included asking if she was, indeed, speaking in official capacity for the EFF.
So far, I've only heard back from member of the Board of Directors Brad Templeton, who responded with "If you have a problem with Jillian, bring it to the attention of her superior. That is not me."
The lack of response to the questions, and the response of Mr. Templeton, do not inspire confidence. So much so, that unless and until this matter is addressed, I withdraw all support for the EFF and recommend any of you who have or do support them examine the matter and make your own decisions.
I am very well aware that individuals within an organization are entitled to their own opinion -- it's why we have a portion of the bylaws of Cooking with the Troops protecting that. However, we also have provisions in for who can speak for our organization, and what happens if someone claims to without sanction. I'm also well aware that even private, protected speech can have a negative impact on an organization: there's a reason I don't blog about politics much anymore, as I've found it has a negative impact on CwtT.
When someone can be seen as speaking for an organization, they have a much higher level of responsibility to clarify for whom they are speaking. This is not about attacking Jillian York, no matter what Mr. Templeton mistakenly appears to think. It is about clarifying for whom she was speaking, and if this represents a fundamental change to an organization that has done a lot of good for bloggers, online journalists, and others.