Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has signed the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act into law. "It is good to see Virginia and other states taking action to protect the privacy of their residents. States have always played a key role in establishing privacy protections," EPIC Policy Director Caitriona Fitzgerald said. "But in 2021 we need a more comprehensive and proactive approach to privacy than what Virginia adopted. We need privacy laws in the United States that address current business practices and protect individuals from all forms of corporate surveillance, algorithmic unfairness, manipulative design, and discrimination. We need privacy laws that minimize the data collected about us and encourage innovation in privacy enhancing technologies. And we need robust enforcement of these rules to make sure that the underlying business practices actually change."
Liberty at Risk: Pre-trial Risk Assessment Tools in the U.S.
Federal, state, and local governments use Risk Assessment Tools to make key decisions about defendants in criminal cases, depriving accused individuals of their liberty based on subjective assessments of the likelihood that they will flee or commit crimes in the future. Many of these tools are opaque and not subject to independent review. "Liberty at Risk: Pre-trial Risk Assessment Tools in the U.S." provides an overview of Risk Assessment Tools that practitioners and scholars can use to understand the nature of these systems, understand the broader context in which they are used, and help focus their evaluations of the fairness of these systems.
Privacy and the Pandemic
EPIC is working to ensure that private and public sector responses to COVID-19 safeguard the privacy and civil liberties of all people. Through advocacy, oversight, and litigation, EPIC is ensuring that the coronavirus pandemic does not lead to erosion of individual rights. Visit epic.org/covid to see EPIC's resources on these issues.
Court Rules for EPIC in Mueller Case.
A federal judge has agreed to conduct an independent assessment in EPIC's case for the release of the complete Mueller Report. Judge Walton called the Attorney General's conduct in the case EPIC v. DOJ "distorted" and "misleading." EPIC has published a book about the case EPIC v. Department of Justice: The Mueller Report", available for sale at the EPIC Bookstore.
Defend Privacy. Support EPIC.
EPIC is on the front lines of the major privacy and civil liberties debates. In 2020, EPIC has worked 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.
EPIC is on the front lines of the major privacy and civil liberties debates. In 2021, EPIC has important work to do on artificial intelligence, face surveillance, data protection, and algorithmic fairness, among many other issues. Please donate to EPIC today to help us continue this important work.
EPIC Launches Campaign For a Data Protection Agency
EPIC Advisory Board Member Professor Ari Waldman and EPIC Policy Director Caitriona Fitzgerald with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for introduction of Data Protection Act to establish a data protection agency in the United States.
EPIC Files Complaint with FTC about Employment Screening Firm HireVue
EPIC's Jeramie Scott: Ban Face Surveillance
EPIC Senior Counsel Jeramie Scott on CBS News discussing the dangers of face surveillance.
EPIC Launches Campaign to Ban Face Surveillance
EPIC has launched a campaign to ban face surveillance. EPIC will publish information on face surveillance laws, reports, and protests worldwide.
The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence has issued its final report on the use of AI in national security and defense settings. The report urges Congress and the President to implement key safeguards on federal AI deployment, including mandating AI impact and risk assessments, updating standards for Privacy Act notices and privacy impact assessments, establishing an independent auditor for AI systems, empowering the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to conduct AI oversight, and establishing a task force to recommend legal restrictions on the use of AI. However, the report fails to propose any substantive limits on AI use for Congressional enactment, as EPIC urged the Commission to do last year. "Unless express, binding limits on the use of AI are established now, the technology will quickly outpace our collective ability to regulate it," EPIC wrote. "The Commission cannot simply kick the can down the road, particularly when governments, civil society, and private sector actors have already laid extensive groundwork for the regulation of AI." Controversially, the AI Commission's final report also fails to endorse a ban on the use of autonomous weapons. The report was approved at the Commission's final meeting, which was open to the public as a result of EPIC's lawsuit. EPIC successfully sued the AI Commission in order to enforce its transparency obligations, forcing the Commission to hold open meetings and disclose thousands of pages of records. The case is EPIC v. AI Commission, No. 19-2906 (D.D.C.).
EPIC Files D.C. Consumer Protection Complaint Against Amazon Over Unfair and Deceptive User Interface
EPIC has filed a complaint with the D.C. Attorney General alleging that Amazon unlawfully employs manipulative "dark patterns" in the Amazon Prime subscription cancellation process. Dark patterns "are design features used to deceive, steer, or manipulate users into behavior that is profitable for an online service, but often harmful to users or contrary to their intent." Amazon employs dark patterns when customers attempt to cancel their Amazon Prime subscriptions, effectively preventing them from ending their memberships, charging users recurring fees, and continuing to collect, retain, and use the personal data of misdirected subscribers. EPIC's complaint calls on the D.C. Attorney General to halt Amazon's use of dark patterns. EPIC also warned the company that it is prepared to file suit under D.C.'s consumer protection law if Amazon fails to correct its unlawful business practices. EPIC recently signed onto a coalition letter urging the FTC to investigate Amazon's use of dark patterns in the Prime cancellation process.
EPIC, Coalition Call on Biden Administration to Abandon "Virtual Border Wall," Invest in Migrant Communities »
EPIC, Coalition Urge NYPD to Limit Use of Surveillance Technologies and Disclose More Information on Their Use »
EPIC and Coalition Urge Biden Administration to Commit to Transparency and Adopt New FOIA Guidelines »
EPIC Obtains Number of Location Data Requests from U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Delaware »
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EPIC in the News
FTC ripped for blacking out Facebook’s privacy report
Global Data Review
March 3, 2021
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.
EPIC's Alan Butler on Location Privacy
Privacy Law Sourcebook 2020