By Nicole A. Ozer

Last year, the privacy and free speech mistakes of tech companies led to tons of embarrassing and costly stories. Often, these missteps would have been avoidable with good planning and processes in place, but many companies lack the resources to navigate this increasingly thorny terrain.

To help tech businesses of all sizes plan around these issues and implement strong practices, the ACLU of California is releasing a new edition of Privacy and Free Speech: It's Good for Business.

This business primer (and its companion website) is packed with more than 100 real-life case studies and cutting-edge recommendations on everything from privacy policies to security planning to community speech standards. Together, the principles and examples show the business value in making privacy and free speech part of a company’s DNA.

This third edition addresses new challenges facing businesses today and shows how to avoid missteps while building privacy and free speech into products and company culture. The lessons include:

Regardless of company size, this guide helps take the guesswork out of protecting privacy and free speech by charting out the essential questions and providing practical tips for spotting issues in products and business models.

We look forward to tech companies using this resource to design and launch their products the right way. By following some pretty simple steps to incorporate privacy and free speech protections into products, businesses can make their services user friendly and avoid costly mistakes. As the primer illustrates, doing so is not just good on principle – it’s good for business, too.

View the primer online at or download a pdf copy.

Nicole A. Ozer is technology and civil liberties director for the ACLU of California. The ACLU of California is a collaboration of the ACLU of Northern California, ACLU of Southern California and the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties.