The Senate Finance Committee has significantly scaled back a proposal in the pending budget reconciliation bill to expand the mandatory reporting regime for private financial information in the United States, a move that EPIC and peer organizations called for last month. The original proposal would have required peer-to-peer apps and services to provide the IRS with Tax Identification Numbers and other data for accounts with inflows and outflows of more than $600 per year. Because most individuals do not hold a separate TIN from their Social Security Number, this plan would have forced private entities to collect the SSNs of millions of Americans. The revised proposal raises the threshold from $600 to $10,000, a significant step toward recommendations by EPIC and other privacy and consumer rights groups. “At minimum, the expanded reporting requirement should be scaled back to apply only to business accounts or individual accounts with a high de minimis threshold, adjusted for inflation over time,” the coalition wrote in its letter to the Senate Finance Committee. U.S Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also praised the change.
2021 EPIC Champion of Freedom Awards
Join EPIC on November 3, 2021 as we celebrate this year's Champions of Freedom!
Sen. Gillibrand Reintroduces Data Protection Act
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has reintroduced the Data Protection Act which would create an independent Data Protection Agency in the U.S. to safeguard the personal data of Americans. EPIC, many leading consumer and civil rights organizations, privacy experts, and scholars support Senator Gillibrand's non-partisan bill. Last year, EPIC Advisory Board Member Professor Ari Waldman and EPIC Deputy Director Caitriona Fitzgerald stood with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for introduction of the bill.
EPIC Report: What the FTC Could Be Doing (But Isn't) To Protect Privacy
EPIC has released a report highlighting numerous statutory authorities that the Federal Trade Commission has failed to use to safeguard privacy. The report, What the FTC Could Be Doing (But Isn't) to Protect Privacy, identifies untapped or underused powers in the FTC's toolbox and explains how the FTC should deploy them to protect the public from abusive data practices.
Save the Date: EPIC Champions of Freedom Awards, Nov. 3
Save the date for EPIC's Champions of Freedom Awards, taking place on November 3rd! This will be a hybrid event, pursuant to local health guidelines, with both in-person and virtual attendance options. EPIC will honor privacy advocates who work tirelessly to ensure that personal data is protected and to tackle the most important emerging privacy issues. Please save the date and join EPIC's celebration of those who protect privacy, freedom of expression, and democratic values in the information age!
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.
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EPIC is on the front lines of the major privacy and civil liberties debates. In 2020, 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 2021, EPIC has important work to do on artificial intelligence, face surveillance, data protection, and algorithmic fairness, among many other issues. Please donate to EPIC today to help us continue this important work.
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.
In comments on the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, EPIC urged the Commissioner to ban police use of facial recognition. EPIC's comments respond to the Commissioner's recently published Draft Guidance on Facial Recognition for Police Agencies. The Draft Guidance is a set of non-binding recommendations that would govern how police agencies in Canada use facial recognition technology. EPIC's comments argue that police cannot be trusted with facial recognition, that the Draft Guidance would not prevent abuses of the technology, and that the only privacy-protective approach to facial recognition is a complete ban. EPIC has joined a number of coalitions urging a ban on facial recognition including: an international letter opposing the technology, a Mustang Men's Casper Big Vichy Shirt on police use of FR, and EPIC's Ban Face Surveillance campaign.
EPIC and NCLC Encourage FCC to Impose Specific Requirements on VoIP Providers to Reduce Illegal Robocalls
Last night, EPIC and the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) urged the FCC to demand more robust and explicit commitments from voice over internet protocol (VoIP) service providers to protect American consumers from unwanted robocalls. Callers launching robocall campaigns often rely upon VoIP networks to do so. The advocacy groups’ comment to the FCC outlines a series of specific actions the Commission should require VoIP providers to take, including detecting and responding to indicators of suspicious activity on their networks, and increasing transparency to consumers of potential robocall threats. EPIC routinely participates in regulatory and legislative processes concerning robocalls and files amicus briefs in robocall cases.
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EPIC in the News
US Postal Service Moves To Escape Facial Recognition Suit
October 22, 2021
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