EPIC, Coalition To White House: Set Privacy Standards for COVID-19 Data and Technology Uses

May 6, 2020

EPIC and 14 other consumer, privacy, civil and digital rights organizations sent a letter to Coronavirus Task Force leader Vice President Mike Pence urging the federal government to set guidelines that protect privacy and ensure equity in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The group stated, “[t]he proper use of technology, personal and aggregate data, and data analytics has the potential to provide important public health benefits, but it must incorporate proper privacy and security safeguards, as well as protections against discrimination and violations of civil and other rights.” The group also raised concerns about public-private partnerships that utilize technology to respond to COVID-19 without the necessary privacy safeguards. The letter outlines 11 principles that form the basis for standards that the government and private sector can follow and asked Vice President Pence for a meeting to discuss their concerns. The group also asked that the Coronavirus Task Force immediately create an interdisciplinary advisory committee comprised of experts from privacy, social science, data security, public health, and members of civil society to develop standards. To Congress, EPIC has said that it is "essential that government agencies and private companies implement standards that safeguard privacy.”

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