The U.S. Government Accountability Office has released a key report about privacy and discrimination risks posed by the commercial use of facial recognition. The GAO completed the report in response to research showing the disparate impact the technology has on minorities, including a National institute of Science and Technology study which found that facial recognition systems misidentify Black women at disproportionately high rates. The GAO report finds that, despite improvements in facial recognition technology, "differences in performance exist for certain demographic groups." The GAO report reiterates the office’s 2013 recommendation urging Congress to update the federal consumer privacy framework to reflect changes in technology. EPIC advocates for a comprehensive federal privacy law and has called for a moratorium on face surveillance.
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.
Kasparov, Experts, NGOs Urge OECD to Back Democratic Values
More than 70 NGOs and Experts, including former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, have asked the OECD Secretary General to reaffirm support for democratic values as the international organization develops policies for national governments that are battling the pandemic.
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 2019, 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 2020, EPIC has important work to do on artificial intelligence, face surveillance, data protection, and election security, 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 D.C. Circuit has ruled that it lacks jurisdiction to hear the appeal of CareFirst customers whose data was stolen in a 2014 data breach. The lower court in Attias v. CareFirst dismissed most of the plaintiffs and claims in the case for failure to allege damages and certified the dismissed claims for appeal. The D.C. Circuit determined that some of the claims could not be appealed until the remaining claims were resolved by the lower court, and it was not clear whether the district court judge intended to certify the claims of the dismissed plaintiffs alone. The decision comes over a year after the parties briefed the substantive questions on appeal. EPIC filed an amicus brief that urged the court to impose a duty of reasonable data protection on businesses to ensure that companies protect the personal data they collect. EPIC also filed an amicus brief in the case the last time it was in the D.C. Circuit on a challenge to consumer standing. The D.C. Circuit held that the CareFirst consumers had standing to sue for the data breach.
Through a Public Information Act request to the Texas Department of Public Safety, EPIC obtained records about the department's use of two Pilatus surveillance planes, including videos recorded during the George Floyd protests. Reports have indicated that these planes, purchased by the state for border operations, were used to surveil cities hundreds of miles from the border. EPIC obtained flight logs from January 1, 2018 to June 15, 2020, plane technical specifications and the department's video retention policy. The flight logs revealed that the surveillance planes flew an average of one flight per day between May 25 to June 15, 2020, with a total of 103 hours of total flight time. In over ninety percent of these flights, the planes recorded no video. The planes reportedly cost an average of $474 an hour to fly, and the Texas DPS spent roughly $49,000 to record three videos over the three-week span. The Texas DPS withheld three videos recorded between May 25 to June 15, 2020, during the height of the George Floyd protests, despite its video retention policy stating that "all retained video copies...will be subject to open records requests." EPIC has long highlighted the privacy and civil liberties implications of aerial surveillance technology and has called on Congress to "establish drone privacy safeguards that limit the risk of public surveillance."
New Jersey Supreme Court Finds Passcode Disclosure Testimonial, But Allows Compelled Decryption of Cell Phone »
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EPIC in the News
Prosecutors can force defendants to give up cellphone passcodes, NJ Supreme Court rules
August 10, 2020
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