EPIC works at the intersection of policy, advocacy, and litigation. EPIC pursues a wide range of program activities including policy research, public education, conferences, litigation, publications, and advocacy. EPIC routinely files amicus briefs in federal and state courts, pursues open government cases, defends consumer privacy, advocates for stronger data protection measures, organizes conferences for NGOs, and speaks before Congress, state legislatures, and judicial organizations about emerging privacy and civil liberties issues. EPIC works closely with a distinguished advisory board with expertise in law, technology, and public policy.
EPIC’s Advocacy Tools
Amicus Curiae briefs
EPIC frequently files amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs in federal and state appellate cases concerning emerging privacy and civil liberties issues.
We work closely with technical experts and legal scholars from the EPIC Advisory Board on these briefs. EPIC’s amicus briefs assist judges in their analyses of novel privacy issues, often involving new technology. Many of these cases are complex and technical. Judges often acknowledge EPIC’s briefs in their opinions, and have expressed gratitude for EPIC’s participation in important cases. EPIC’s decision to participate as amicus in a particular case typically follows an extensive review of matters pending before federal and state courts.
EPIC’s Open Government Litigation
The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) governs internal procedures of administrative agencies, including how they interact with the public. Since 1997, EPIC has submitted extensive public comments to federal agencies pursuant to the APA. EPIC has also provided administrative comments to state and international administrative agencies. Through these comments, EPIC makes detailed recommendations, grounded in both policy and law, for stronger privacy protection.
Consumer Privacy Complaints
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. From its earliest days, EPIC has worked to ensure that the FTC, the Federal Communications Commission, and other federal and state agencies protect privacy and personal data.
EPIC provides expertise to shape strong privacy and open government laws at both the state and federal level. EPIC has testified in Congress, submitted statements to Congressional committees, and participated in hearings before the state legislatures on topics ranging from student privacy to drone surveillance.
EPIC Privacy Cases
EPIC also brings other cases to promote individual privacy rights. Recent privacy cases include EPIC v. U.S. Postal Service, seeking to stop the U.S. Postal Service’s law enforcement arm from using facial recognition and social media monitoring tools, and EPIC v. Presidential Election Commission, a lawsuit to block the (now defunct) Presidential Election Commission and associated federal agencies from unlawfully collecting and retaining millions of state voter records.
Public education on privacy and civil liberties issues is central to EPIC’s mission. EPIC’s website is one of the most popular privacy websites in the world. EPIC seeks to engage the public and policymakers to achieve meaningful results that benefit the public. EPIC works with wonderful allies and colleagues around the world, small NGOs, established leaders, and subject matter experts who give their time and energy to help support the work of EPIC.