EPIC Government Surveillance Project

The EPIC Government Surveillance Project focuses on the privacy and civil liberties implications of emerging technologies, particular those used for surveillance. The project focuses on technologies that can be used in public surveillance of the masses, including drones, biometrics (e.g. facial recognition), and license plate readers. The Project also focuses on the privacy and civil liberties implications of surveillance conducted in the name of cybersecurity and the use of opaque algorithms to determine who is a National Security threats.

EPIC’s Government Surveillance Project educates the public and policymakers through the documents we obtains through FOIA litigation. EPIC’s Spotlight on Surveillance highlights specific surveillance issues providing in-depth information on surveillance technology, the privacy and civil liberties implications, and recommendations for mitigating the risks. Moving forward, the Government Surveillance Project will focus on the domestic surveillance conducted by agencies like the FBI and DHS in the name of National Security.

EPIC’s work on government surveillance includes the following issues areas:

Drones and UAVs

Drone imageDrones raise significant privacy issues because of their ability to conduct aerial surveillance. Drones can carry a number of different surveillance equipment that can gather detailed information on individuals.


Domestic Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Drones
Spotlight on Surveillance - DRONES: Eyes in the Sky

State Policy

State Drone and UAV Policy


State v. Davis


EPIC v. Army - Surveillance Blimps


EPIC v. FAA - Challenging the FAA’s Failure to Establish Drone Privacy Rules

Algorithmic Transparency

Algorithmic Transparency imageOpaque, automated decision making by algorithms undermines our privacy and freedom of association. Our social connections and online activities are used by the government and companies to make determinations about our ability to fly, obtain a job, a clearance, etc.


Passenger Profiling
Algorithmic Transparency

Agency Comments

Big Data and the Future of Privacy


EPIC v. CBP - Analytical Framework for Intelligence


Cybersecurity imageApproaches to cybersecurity that provide liability protection for companies to disclose more user information to the government raise significant privacy issues. It allows the government to obtain information that includes personally identifiable information from companies without judicial review.


Presidential Directives and Cybersecurity

Agency Comments

Developing a Framework to Improve Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity


EPIC v. NAS - Cybersecurity Authority
EPIC v. DHS - Defense Contractor Monitoring


Biometrics imageBiometric data collection, particularly for facial recognition and DNA analysis, pose significant threats to privacy. Facial recognition allows for covert or even remote identification on a mass scale without consent. DNA can reveal sensitive health data.


Face Recognition
Genetic Privacy
Biometric Identifiers

Agency Comments

Face Facts: A Forum on Facial Recognition


Maryland v. King


EPIC v. FBI - Next Generation Identification

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