Both branches of Congress have now passed a bill governing the security of the Internet of Things. The "Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2019" sets baseline cybersecurity standards for IoT devices purchased by the federal government. The bipartisan measure is sponsored by Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) in the House and Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) in the Senate. "While more and more products and even household appliances today have software functionality and internet connectivity, too few incorporate even basic safeguards and protections, posing a real risk to individual and national security," said Sen. Warner. The bill now heads to the President's desk for signature. EPIC recently told Congress that "the IoT network is the weak link in consumer products" and urged the establishment of of mandatory privacy and security standards.
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 Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) issued a moratorium on the use of third-party commercial facial recognition systems including Clearview AI. However, the LAPD will continue to use a Los Angeles County system which searches booking images. LAPD officers have used Clearview AI at least 475 times since 2019. Clearview AI is a particularly dangerous facial recognition system because it queries a database of over 3 billion images scraped from social media sites, compromising the privacy of more individuals than smaller-scale systems. EPIC recently filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking information on Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) use of Clearview AI. EPIC leads a campaign to Ban Face Surveillance.
EPIC has filed an amicus brief in Massachusetts Attorney General v. Facebook urging the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to require Facebook to disclose information about third-party apps that violated user privacy protections. The Attorney General requested the information as part of an investigation into the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal. EPIC wrote that Facebook has been obligated to collect information about user privacy abuses for more than a decade but failed to do so in this case until threatened with litigation. As a consequence, EPIC argued, if the company is allowed to keep this information secret, "Facebook will continue to evade accountability and the harmful effects of Facebook's business practices could go undetected." EPIC argued that Facebook has had a long pattern of secrecy, and that Facebook now "knows a shocking amount about each of its users, but its users know shockingly little about Facebook." EPIC has long sought accountability for Facebook's broken privacy promises. EPIC filed the original FTC Complaint in 2009 that led to the FTC's 2012 Consent Order with the company, subsequently filed several complaints alleging violations of the Order, urged the FTC to investigate the Cambridge Analytica incident, and moved to intervene in and filed an amicus brief challenging the FTC's 2019 settlement with Facebook.
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EPIC in the News
FTC's Zoom Deal Signals New Data Security Plan Under Dems
November 25, 2020
Caitriona Fitzgerald, EPIC Interim Associate Director and Policy Director
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