Improper tracking and profiling of internet users is widespread because companies have been allowed to set their own rules and ignore data protection standards. EPIC seeks to protect users from data abuses and strengthen privacy standards online.
When consumers make a purchase online, browse the internet, or scroll through social media, they expect that companies will use their information solely for the purposes of the transaction. All too often, companies misuse, sell, or fail to protect consumers’ personal information. EPIC has a particular interest in protecting consumer privacy and has played a leading role in developing the authority of the Federal Trade Commission to address emerging privacy issues and to safeguard the privacy rights of consumers. EPIC has also long advocated for a comprehensive U.S. privacy law and a Data Protection Agency.
Areas of Focus Within Consumer Privacy
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By artificially tightening Article III standing requirements and refusing to exercise jurisdiction over a growing number of cases, federal courts have made it difficult for individuals to vindicate their privacy rights.
Analysis of large data sets can yield valuable insights, but when personal data is involved, strict safeguards and privacy-enhancing technologies are critical.
Individuals reasonably expect that content and details of their electronic communications will remain private. Abusive commercial data practices and government surveillance threaten that privacy.
Privacy protection and platform competition are closely linked. A lack of both has enabled a small number of firms to consolidate and exploit huge volumes of personal data.
Regulation is desperately needed to protect individuals from companies that aggregate and sell personal information at industrial scale.
Robocalls are more than a minor inconvenience; they are a serious privacy invasion. EPIC regularly defends the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the federal anti-robocall statute.
Many social media platforms are built on excessive collection, algorithmic processing, and commercial exploitation of users’ personal data. That must change.
Scraping websites and social media profiles is a cheap and easy way to obtain personal data for commercial use—and a major threat to the privacy expectations of users.
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