In a statement to the House Judiciary Committee, EPIC told lawmakers that merger review must consider data protection and that the Federal Trade Commission must block Google's plan to acquire Fitbit. "Far from protecting market competition and promoting innovation, the Commission is facilitating industry consolidation," EPIC said in the statement released in advance of the hearing. EPIC pointed to the Facebook-WhatsApp deal and the failure of the FTC to protect the personal data of WhatsApp users after the merger. EPIC noted that if the FTC approves Google's acquisition of Fitbit, it will be the 230th firm that Google/Alphabet has acquired "with barely a whimper from the Federal Trade Commission." EPIC said: "This is not antitrust enforcement. This is agency negligence." EPIC previously testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about mergers in the online advertising industry after EPIC warned the FTC that Google's acquisition of DoubleClick would diminish privacy and stifle innovation. EPIC earlier opposed Doubleclick's acquisition of Abacus, explaining that the deal would lead to increased profiling of American consumers.
EPIC Report Ranks Online Privacy Act #1
EPIC has released an updated detailed analysis of the privacy bills in Congress. According to EPIC, Repreventatives Eshoo and Lofgren's Online Privacy Act ranks #1. EPIC's report reviews recent developments, sets out a model bill, and assesses pending legislation. The EPIC Report finds that several of the bills in Congress lack the basic elements of a privacy law, such as an opportunity for individuals to enforce their rights.
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.
D.C. Attorney General Racine Speaks at EPIC
EPIC hosted D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine for a meeting with the Privacy Coalition. General Racine discussed his office’s initiatives on privacy, algorithmic discrimination, and antitrust. Last year, the Attorney General sued Facebook under the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act for the mishandling of user data that led to Cambridge Analytica breach. And General Racine joined with others AGs investigating Google for anti-competitive conduct.
EPIC Publishes First Reference Book on AI Policy
EPIC has published "The EPIC AI Policy Sourcebook 2019." The EPIC collection is the first compendium of AI policy, providing essential information to policy makers, researchers, journalists, and the public. The EPIC Sourcebook includes global AI frameworks such as the OECD AI Principles and the Universal Guidelines for AI, as well as materials from the EU, Council of Europe, national AI initiatives and professional societies IEEE and ACM. "Required reading for a necessary conversation," Sherry Turkle.
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 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.
Following a DC consumer protection suit that EPIC filed against AccuWeather in 2018, the company has stopped deceptively gathering users' location data. In its Complaint, EPIC charged that AccuWeather grabbed consumers' location data even when they expressly opted out of location tracking. EPIC also charged that AccuWeather failed to disclose that it transferred location data to advertisers. Now AccuWeather, following EPIC's case, has changed its business practices. Users can decline dvertising and other non-functional uses of their device information, and users can delete the information that AccuWeather collects about their device. EPIC has long advocated for the privacy of location data. EPIC filed a "friend of the court" brief with the US Supreme Court in, Carpenter v. US, a case concerning police surveillance and a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission concerning Uber's tracking of subscribers. EPIC also opposed Apple's tracking of iPhone users. EPIC also maintains detailed webpages on location privacy.
EPIC told a federal court this week that the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence must comply with the Freedom of Information Act. Created by Congress in 2018, the AI Commission is tasked with considering "the methods and means necessary to advance the development of” AI in a national security setting. But the Commission has operated largely in secret and claims that it is exempt from open government laws. The Commission has received almost 200 closed-door briefings, with no published agendas and no public minutes. EPIC, which filed suit against the Commission in September, explained that Congress left “no doubt that the AI Commission is subject to the FOIA.” The Commission recently released a report to Congress, which criticized the EU General Data Protection Regulation and called for greater "government access to data on Americans." EPIC’s case is EPIC v. AI Commission, No. 19-2906 (D.D.C.).
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EPIC in the News
LinkedIn Must Allow Scraping By HiQ, Court Confirms
November 12, 2019
Marc Rotenberg, EPIC President
EPIC and the UK ICO
Marc Rotenberg, EPIC President
Council of Europe
Marc Rotenberg, EPIC President
Georgetown Law Advanced eDiscovery Institute
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