EPIC has again written to the Senate Rules Committee regarding the meetings of a Senate "Tech Task Force," following a news item which suggested that the Rules Committee approved closed-door hearings. EPIC had called for an investigation into the meetings in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room, which were closed to the public and press, lacked public notice, and produced no written record. According to the POLITICO story, an unnamed staff person told a reporter that they had decided the Task Force was not subject to the open meeting requirement. EPIC was never notified of any decision. "This saga increasingly resembles a Kafka short story," EPIC wrote. EPIC has requested a written response to its requests for investigation and also wrote "we fully intend to pursue this issue until there is a favorable resolution."
EPIC Report Finds Privacy Bills in Congress Lacking Basic Elements
EPIC has released a detailed analysis of the privacy bills in Congress. According to EPIC, Senator Ed Markey's Privacy Bill of Rights ranks #1. EPIC's report — Grading on a Curve: Privacy Legislation in the 116th Congress — reviews recent developments, sets out a model bill, and assesses pending legislation. The EPIC Report finds that many of the bills in Congress lack the basic elements of a privacy law, such as an opportunity for individuals to enforce their rights.
EPIC Challenges FTC-Facebook Settlement, Asks Court to Hear from Privacy Groups
EPIC has filed a Motion to Intervene in United States v. Facebook to protect the interests of Facebook users. EPIC said the settlement "is not adequate, reasonable, or appropriate."
EPIC Testifed at 2017 Senate Hearing on Equifax Data Breach
EPIC's Marc Rotenberg warned the Committee that "the Equifax data breach is one of the most serious in the nation's history." Pictured (L to R), Sam Lester, Alan Butler, Marc Rotenberg, Eleni Kyriakides, and Christine Bannan, and industry witnesses.
EPIC Launches Campaign For a Data Protection Agency
EPIC has launched a campaign promoting the creation of a Data Protection Agency in the United States. While the FTC helps to safeguard consumers and promote competition, it is not a data protection agency. The U.S. needs a federal data protection agency focused on privacy protection, compliance with data protection obligations, and emerging privacy challenges.
EPIC Publishes The Mueller Report
EPIC has published The Mueller Report: EPIC v. Department of Justice and the Special Counsel’s Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election. This collection, edited by EPIC President Marc Rotenberg, includes the version of the Mueller Report provided to EPIC in EPIC v. DOJ, the original EPIC FOIA request, and more.
EPIC Seeks Public Release of Mueller Report
EPIC has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to obtain the final report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller concerning Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. There was a hearing in federal district court in Washington, DC Tuesday, April 9, at 9 am in EPIC v. DOJ.
More than 26,000 Complaints Pending Against Facebook
More than 26,000 complaints against Facebook are currently pending before the FTC. In the eight years since the Commission announced the consent order against Facebook it has not taken a single enforcement action against Facebook. EPIC and a coalition of consumer privacy organizations filed the original complaint against Facebook in 2009.
EPIC is on the front lines of the major privacy and civil liberties debates. In 2019, EPIC has important work to do on algorithmic transparency, facial recognition, data protection and democracy, among many other issues. Please donate to EPIC today to help us continue this important work.
Defend Privacy. Support EPIC.
EPIC is on the front lines of the major privacy and civil liberties debates. In 2019, EPIC will work to protect democratic institutions, promote algorithmic transparency, and defend the right to privacy. We need your support. And EPIC is a top-rated non-profit - Charity Navigator (Four Star) and Guidestar (Gold). Please donate to EPIC today.
California Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to sign legislation —The Body Camera Accountability Act- to ban the use of facial-recognition technology in law enforcement body cameras. Assembly Member Phil Ting (D), who wrote the bill, told the Washington Post "Body cameras have been used as a tool to build trust between communities and law enforcement and to provide more transparency. Putting facial recognition software into those body cameras helps destroy that trust. It turns a tool of transparency and openness into a tool of 24-hour surveillance." EPIC had long warned lawmakers about police-worn body cameras and facial recognition. In a 2015 statement for the Senate, EPIC explained that "the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement agencies is expanding within the United States without proper oversight or input from the public." In a related commentary, EPIC Domestic Surveillance Counsel Jeramie Scott wrote, "Police body cameras may help improve police relations with the public, but steps must also be taken to ensure that concerns about privacy are addressed. As body cameras increase, we must guard against expanding their use and remain focused on true police accountability." EPIC's State Policy Project tracks privacy developments in the states.
EPIC, the Australian Privacy Foundation, and Privacy International submitted comments calling for a greater NGO role in oversight of the International Privacy Convention. The Council of Europe Convention 108+ is the first and only binding international legal instrument for data protection. Updated in 2018, the Modernized Convention includes new articles on biometric data and algorithmic transparency, and enhanced compliance with convention terms. The coalition comments urge the Council of Europe to include NGOs in compliance review groups, increase transparency of the review process, and to evaluate national privacy remedies and derogations from the Convention. EPIC and consumer groups have also long urged the United States to ratify the international Privacy Convention.
Subscribe to the EPIC Alert
The EPIC Alert is a biweekly newsletter highlighting emerging privacy issues.
EPIC in the News
Senate Rules: Blackburn’s Closed-Door Sessions A-OK
POLITICO Morning Tech
September 13, 2019
EPIC v. DOJ: Seeking the final report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller concerning Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Department of Commerce v. New York: Whether the Department of Commerce and Census Bureau violated the Administrative Procedure Act when it added a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
EPIC provides expertise to shape strong privacy and open government laws at both the state and federal level.
EPIC recently launched a campaign to promote the creation of a Data Protection Agency in the U.S.
The Mueller Report
Edited by Marc Rotenberg