Date: April 15, 2003
Marc Rotenberg
202-483-1140 x106

Privacy Group Cites Increasing Government
Surveillance Authority for Yellow Rating


The Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) announced today that it was establishing a new Privacy Threat Index to track the growing threat to privacy resulting from the expansion of government surveillance.

EPIC said it would follow the color-coded scheme established for the Homeland Security Advisory System by the Department of Homeland Security for the EPIC Privacy Threat Index. The rankings from green, blue, and yellow to orange and red signal Low Condition, Guarded, Elevated, High and Severe.

Based on developments during the past year, EPIC assessed the current level as Yellow.

Among the factors cited included:

At the same time, EPIC noted that there were some hopeful signs:

EPIC publishes an annual survey on privacy laws and developments around the world. The EPIC 2002 Privacy and Human Rights survey reported on developments in more than sixty countries. The 2003 report will be released at the fall at the National Press Club in Washington DC and will incorporate the Privacy Threat Index.

EPIC Executive Director Marc Rotenberg said it would become increasingly important to compare surveillance activity over time. "We will use the Privacy Threat Index to assess developments in the United States and to compare activities in countries around the world."

The EPIC Privacy Threat Index was presented by RSA Conference Chairman Jim Bidzos at the RSA Annual Conference this week in San Francisco. Mr. Bidzos serves as a member of the EPIC Advisory Board.

Web sites are encouraged to link to the EPIC Privacy Threat Index. Insert the following HTML code where the graphic should appear:

<A HREF="http://www.epic.org/"><IMG SRC="http://www.epic.org/graphics/threat_index.gif" alt="EPIC Privacy Threat Index"></A>

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is a public interest research center in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, freedom of expression and constitutional values. EPIC pursues a wide range of activities, including policy research, public education, conferences, litigation, publications, and advocacy.

Electronic Privacy Information Center

EPIC, Privacy and Human Rights 2002

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