EPIC Urges OSTP to Prioritize Differential Privacy

July 11, 2022

In comments to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, EPIC urged federal agencies to prioritize the adoption of differential privacy and to increase funding across the board for privacy-enhancing technologies. EPIC’s comments respond to an OSTP request for information to inform a forthcoming “national strategy on privacy preserving data sharing and analytics.” EPIC recommended the work of EPIC Advisory Board members Prof. Latanya Sweeney and Prof. Cynthia Dwork.

EPIC regularly advocates for the use of differential privacy to protect personally identifiable information in statistical settings, especially in the U.S. Census. Differential privacy is achieved through the controlled injection of statistical noise into a published study or analysis of a dataset, providing a mathematical guarantee of privacy while preserving the research value of the information. Most recently, EPIC submitted an amicus brief urging a federal district court to reject a challenge by the state of Alabama to the use of differential privacy in the 2020 census. The court later dismissed the case.

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