As part of EPIC's ongoing lawsuit for cell phone surveillance orders issued by federal prosecutors, the Department of Justice identified 182 orders and warrants for cell phone location data under § 2703(d) from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Rhode Island from 2016-2019. During the same time period, the office handled 453 criminal cases. The District of Rhode Island is one of the smallest districts in the country. EPIC has previously obtained the number of location data requests for the District of Delaware and the Virgin Islands, two of the five districts that the DOJ has agreed to search for location data requests. EPIC is awaiting responses from two of the agency's other prosecutor's offices and will continue to update its comparative table as remaining districts release more information. Currently, prosecutors do not release any comprehensive or uniform data about their surveillance of cell phone location data. In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Carpenter v. United States that the collection of cell phone location data without a warrant is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. The case is EPIC v. DOJ, No. 18-1814 (D.D.C.).
Sen. Gillibrand Reintroduces Data Protection Act
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has reintroduced the Data Protection Act which would create an independent Data Protection Agency in the U.S. to safeguard the personal data of Americans. EPIC, many leading consumer and civil rights organizations, privacy experts, and scholars support Senator Gillibrand's non-partisan bill. Last year, EPIC Advisory Board Member Professor Ari Waldman and EPIC Deputy Director Caitriona Fitzgerald stood with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for introduction of the bill.
EPIC Report: What the FTC Could Be Doing (But Isn't) To Protect Privacy
EPIC has released a report highlighting numerous statutory authorities that the Federal Trade Commission has failed to use to safeguard privacy. The report, What the FTC Could Be Doing (But Isn't) to Protect Privacy, identifies untapped or underused powers in the FTC's toolbox and explains how the FTC should deploy them to protect the public from abusive data practices.
Save the Date: EPIC Champions of Freedom Awards, Nov. 3
Save the date for EPIC's Champions of Freedom Awards, taking place on November 3rd! This will be a hybrid event, pursuant to local health guidelines, with both in-person and virtual attendance options. EPIC will honor privacy advocates who work tirelessly to ensure that personal data is protected and to tackle the most important emerging privacy issues. Please save the date and join EPIC's celebration of those who protect privacy, freedom of expression, and democratic values in the information age!
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.
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 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.
In a joint opinion regarding the European Commission's Proposal for Regulation on artificial intelligence, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) and the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) called for a ban on the use of "AI for automated recognition of human features in publicly accessible spaces, and some other uses of AI that can lead to unfair discrimination." Europe's two main data protection authorities also critiqued the European Commission for failing to include international law enforcement efforts in the proposed regulations. The joint opinion is the latest in an increasing chorus of calls for a ban on facial recognition. EPIC has joined a number of coalitions urging a ban on facial recognition including: an international letter opposing the technology, a statement of concerns on police use of FR, and EPIC's Ban Face Surveillance campaign. EPIC recently endorsed legislation that would ban federal law enforcement use of facial recognition and pressure state law enforcement to do the same.
EPIC Asks D.C. Circuit to Review Decision Endorsing Secrecy of Drone Advisory Committee Working Groups
EPIC has petitioned the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a recent decision by a three-judge panel allowing the FAA's Drone Advisory Committee to conduct much of its work in secret. EPIC filed suit in 2018 against the industry-dominated Committee, which consistently ignored the privacy risks posed by the deployment of drones—even after identifying privacy as a top public concern. As a result of EPIC's lawsuit, the Committee was forced to disclose hundreds of pages of records under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. But the lower court ruled that the Committee did not need to disclose records from its secretive subcommittees—a decision that divided panel of the D.C. Circuit affirmed in April. Circuit Judge Robert L. Wilkins, writing in dissent, accused the majority of "doing violence to the text" of the FACA and argued that the decision "undermines FACA's purpose and greenlights an easily abusable system[.]" EPIC's petition highlights ways in which the panel's opinion conflicts with past D.C. Circuit decisions and warns that the ruling gives federal agencies "a legal roadmap to evade the public scrutiny that Congress intended FACA to provide. " The case is EPIC v. Drone Advisory Committee, No. 19-5238 (D.C. Cir.).
EPIC, Coalition Calls for Surveillance Reforms in Response to DOJ Surveillance of Congress and Reporters »
Subscribe to the EPIC Alert
The EPIC Alert is a biweekly newsletter highlighting emerging privacy issues.
EPIC in the News
United States: The New Data Privacy Act In New York City
June 21, 2021
Alan Butler, EPIC Executive Director
ACM USTPC HotTopics Webinar
EPIC is Hiring!
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