EPIC has filed an amicus brief in Facebook v. Duguid urging the U.S. Supreme Court to preserve the broad federal ban on robocalls to cell phones. After being sued for sending automated texts to a non-user, Facebook has argued that the federal ban on automated dialing systems—or “autodialers”—only covers a small subset of the systems currently in use. EPIC’s brief states that Facebook’s interpretation “is completely unmoored from the structure and purpose of the law.” EPIC argues that “Congress was concerned above all else with protecting the privacy of cell phone users from the scourge of robocalls” and “narrowing the autodialer definition would not protect privacy.” Instead, the brief continues, “it would put the most widely used mass dialing systems outside the scope of the” ban, and “nearly every American will be the target of an unending telemarketing campaign.” EPIC previously filed an amicus brief in Gadelhak v. AT&T Services, where the Seventh Circuit decided the same question. EPIC routinely files amicus briefs on the federal anti-robocall law, including the recently decided Supreme Court case, Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants.
2020 Election Security
Since launching its Democracy and Cybersecurity Project, EPIC has worked to ensure that elections in the United States are secure and fair for all citizens, even during a pandemic. Through advocacy, litigation, and policy efforts, EPIC is fighting to protect democratic institutions and highlighting privacy and cybersecurity concerns related to election systems.
EPIC Analysis: CA Proposition 24
EPIC has published an analysis of Proposition 24 in California, the California Privacy Rights Act. In 2018, the State of California enacted the CCPA, the first comprehensive consumer privacy law enacted in the United States. A new ballot initiative, California Proposition 24: The California Private Rights Act of 2020, which will be on the November election ballot, would significantly change the CCPA.
Liberty at Risk: Pre-trial Risk Assessment Tools in the U.S.
Federal, state, and local governments use Risk Assessment Tools to make key decisions about defendants in criminal cases, depriving accused individuals of their liberty based on subjective assessments of the likelihood that they will flee or commit crimes in the future. Many of these tools are opaque and not subject to independent review. "Liberty at Risk: Pre-trial Risk Assessment Tools in the U.S." provides an overview of Risk Assessment Tools that practitioners and scholars can use to understand the nature of these systems, understand the broader context in which they are used, and help focus their evaluations of the fairness of these systems.
Privacy and the Pandemic
EPIC is working to ensure that private and public sector responses to COVID-19 safeguard the privacy and civil liberties of all people. Through advocacy, oversight, and litigation, EPIC is ensuring that the coronavirus pandemic does not lead to erosion of individual rights. Visit epic.org/covid to see EPIC's resources on these issues.
Kasparov, Experts, NGOs Urge OECD to Back Democratic Values
More than 70 NGOs and Experts, including former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, have asked the OECD Secretary General to reaffirm support for democratic values as the international organization develops policies for national governments that are battling the pandemic.
Court Rules for EPIC in Mueller Case.
A federal judge has agreed to conduct an independent assessment in EPIC's case for the release of the complete Mueller Report. Judge Walton called the Attorney General's conduct in the case EPIC v. DOJ "distorted" and "misleading." EPIC has published a book about the case EPIC v. Department of Justice: The Mueller Report", available for sale at the EPIC Bookstore.
Defend Privacy. Support EPIC.
EPIC is on the front lines of the major privacy and civil liberties debates. In 2019, EPIC has worked to protect democratic institutions, promote algorithmic transparency, and defend the right to privacy. We need your support. And EPIC is a top-rated non-profit - Charity Navigator (Four Star) and Guidestar (Gold). Please donate to EPIC today.
EPIC is on the front lines of the major privacy and civil liberties debates. In 2020, EPIC has important work to do on artificial intelligence, face surveillance, data protection, and election security, among many other issues. Please donate to EPIC today to help us continue this important work.
EPIC Launches Campaign For a Data Protection Agency
EPIC Advisory Board Member Professor Ari Waldman and EPIC Policy Director Caitriona Fitzgerald with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for introduction of Data Protection Act to establish a data protection agency in the United States.
EPIC Files Complaint with FTC about Employment Screening Firm HireVue
EPIC's Jeramie Scott: Ban Face Surveillance
EPIC Senior Counsel Jeramie Scott on CBS News discussing the dangers of face surveillance.
EPIC Launches Campaign to Ban Face Surveillance
EPIC has launched a campaign to ban face surveillance. EPIC will publish information on face surveillance laws, reports, and protests worldwide.
The Department of Justice has filed an antitrust case against Google in federal court, alleging violations of anti-monopoly laws in the search and advertising markets. EPIC has long warned regulators about the harmful privacy consequences of market consolidation by Google and other technology firms. More than a decade ago, EPIC urged the FTC to block Google’s proposed acquisition of DoubleClick. EPIC said that the acquisition would enable Google to collect the personal information of billions of users and track their browsing activities across the web. EPIC correctly warned that this acquisition would accelerate Google’s dominance of the online advertising industry and diminish competition. The FTC ultimately allowed the merger to go forward. EPIC has since repeatedly warned the FTC that other mergers posed similar risks to consumer privacy and competition. In 2011, EPIC warned the FTC that Google’s dominance in the internet search marketplace was allowing it to preference its own content in search results. Today Google occupies 92% of the search market worldwide.
EPIC Urges Massachusetts Supreme Court to Reject the Third Party Doctrine for Electronic Data Collected for a Service
EPIC has filed an amicus brief in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court urging the court to reject the decades-old third-party doctrine, which allows the government to access electronic data collected by third parties without a warrant. In Commonwealth v. Zachery, the court will decide whether an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy in the data collected by transit authorities through their public transportation card. EPIC notes that individuals today are "largely unaware of the volume and sensitivity of data collected about them" by digital services that have become necessary in today's world. Although people may recognize that third parties collect their data to an extent, "they expect their data to be used only for the limited purposes associated with that service." EPIC argues that the third-party doctrine is a relic of the past that is at odds with modern technologies and urges the court to replace the doctrine with an approach based on modern privacy law principles. EPIC has previously argued against the continued use of the third-party doctrine in constitutional privacy analysis.
Subscribe to the EPIC Alert
The EPIC Alert is a biweekly newsletter highlighting emerging privacy issues.
EPIC in the News
Facebook Promises Privacy Reform. Critics Aren't Convinced
October 23, 2020
EPIC v. DOJ: Seeking the final report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller concerning Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Department of Commerce v. New York: Whether the Department of Commerce and Census Bureau violated the Administrative Procedure Act when it added a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
EPIC provides expertise to shape strong privacy and open government laws at both the state and federal level.
EPIC recently launched a campaign to promote the creation of a Data Protection Agency in the U.S.
EPIC's Alan Butler on Location Privacy
Privacy Law Sourcebook 2020