About EFF-Austin

Mission Statement

EFF-Austin advocates establishment and protection of digital rights and defense of the wealth of digital information, innovation, and technology. We promote the right of all citizens to communicate and share information without unreasonable constraint. We also advocate the fundamental right to explore, tinker, create, and innovate along the frontier of emerging technologies.

About EFF-Austin

EFF-Austin is an independent nonprofit civil liberties organization concerned with emerging frontiers where technology meets society. We are a group of visionary technologists, legal professionals, academics, political activists and concerned citizens who work to protect digital rights and educate the public about emerging technologies and their implications.

Similar to our namesake, the national Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), “the dominion we defend is the vast wealth of digital information, innovation, and technology that resides online.”

EFF-Austin was originally formed in 1991 with the intention that it would become the first chapter of the national Electronic Frontier Foundation. However, EFF decided not to become a chapters organization, and EFF-Austin became a separately-incorporated, independent nonprofit organization focusing on cyber liberties, digital rights, and emerging technologies.

An audio history of EFF-Austin (and why we’re not formally connected to the national EFF) is available here.

Website: EFF-Austin
Email: info at effaustin.org


  • President: Kevin Welch
  • Treasurer: Chris Boyd

Board of Directors

  • Heather Barfield, Austin Creative Alliance
    • Heather Barfield, Ph.D., has an extensive background in theater history, criticism, theory, and practice. Since 1990, she has been an active performer, director, producer, and writer in the Austin theater community. Barfield has been a vital member of VORTEX Repertory Theatre for 25 years and currently serves as Associate Artistic Director. Her artistic work often incorporates intermodal forms of storytelling through digital and analog methods. In her latest critically-praised production, Privacy Settings: A Promethean Tale (2016), Barfield and her cast of devised theater makers explored the complex topics of whistleblowers, digital privacy, and civil liberties alongside audience-immersive interactions. Dr. Barfield also works steadily in the nonprofit arts management sector as CFO/COO for Austin Creative Alliance. She oversees the financial and budgetary aspects of over ninety sponsored project organizations and collaborates with staff on grant writing, marketing, event planning, and production. Barfield believes that a healthy and just social ecosystem critically depends upon vibrant, eclectic, diverse, reflexive, and innovative arts.
  • Chris Boyd, Midas GreenTech
  • Ed Cavazos [@EdCavazos], Managing Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
  • Andrew Donoho [@adonoho], Donoho Design Group, LLC; Technology Strategist
  • Mike Gagne, Global Escalations Manager, Community Operations at Facebook
  • Jon Lebkowsky [@jonl], CEO, Polycot Associates

8a4b00ba16155b6bdfd06534c080da0dJon Lebkowsky is the co-founder and former president of EFF-Austin. He has been managing technology projects and companies for over 25 years. He has been co-founder and CEO of three companies, and has been CEO of Polycot Associates (which was recently transformed into a worker-owned web development cooperative) for ten years, and before that, its precursor Polycot Consulting for six years. He is currently focused on strategic digital consulting and development, as well as business vision and management. He is also known as an activist and writer/blogger focused on the future of the Internet, digital culture, cyber liberties, media, and society.