EPIC, Coalition Call on OMB to Make Privacy Impact Assessments Work

April 2, 2024

In comments to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), EPIC laid out the flaws that allow federal agencies to skirt their responsibility to conduct meaningful privacy impact assessments (PIA). EPIC urged OMB to update their PIA guidance by closing loopholes to conducting PIAs, ensuring that PIAs are done before systems are rolled out, improving transparency requirements, and paying special attention to AI and commercially available information. 

An EPIC-led coalition of 27 privacy, government accountability, civil liberties, civil rights, racial justice, and human rights groups also submitted comments to OMB calling on the agency to implement those reforms. In 2022, EPIC urged the Administrative Conference of the US to promulgate similar reforms for PIAs. EPIC has extensively litigated agency compliance with the E-Government Act of 2002’s requirement to conduct PIAs, most recently in EPIC v. USPS. In that case EPIC brought suit to challenge a covert operations program housed within the US Postal Inspection Service that abused a suite of advanced technology to surveil protesters without conducting a PIA. 

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