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EPIC v. FTC: EPIC Obtains Facebook-FTC Emails About 2011 Consent Order

Fri, 2018-10-19 17:05

In response to EPIC's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the FTC has released agency emails about the 2011 Facebook Consent Order. Following a detailed complaint by EPIC and other consumer privacy organizations, the FTC issued an order in 2011 that required biennial audits of Facebook's privacy practices. EPIC pursued public release of these reports and related emails to understand why the FTC failed to bring an enforcement action action against the company. Today the FTC released to EPIC 89 emails between the FTC and Facebook from the years 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. In March 2018, following the Cambridge Analytica data breach, the FTC announced it was reopening the Facebook investigation. To date, there is still no announcement, no report, and no fine.

Categories: Privacy

EPIC Files Amicus in Case Concerning Government Searches and Google's Email Screening Practices

Thu, 2018-10-18 14:55

EPIC has filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in United States v. Miller, arguing that the Government must prove the reliability of Google email screening technique. The lower court held that law enforcement could search any images that Google's algorithm had flagged as apparent child pornography. EPIC explained that a search is unreasonable when the government cannot establish the reliability of the technique. EPIC also warned that the government could use this technique "to determine if files contain religious viewpoints, political opinions, or banned books." EPIC has promoted algorithmic transparency for many years. EPIC routinely submits amicus briefs on the application of the Fourth Amendment to investigative techniques. EPIC previously urged the government to prove the reliability of investigative techniques in Florida v. Harris.

Categories: Privacy

EPIC FOIA: Records Show DHS Ignored Privacy, First Amendment Threats of Media Monitoring Program

Wed, 2018-10-17 19:05

EPIC has obtained records concerning "Media Monitoring Services," a controversial DHS project to track journalists, news outlets, and social media accounts. The records, released in EPIC's FOIA lawsuit against the federal agency, reveal that the DHS bypassed the agency's own privacy officials and ignored the privacy and First Amendment implications of monitoring the coverage by particular journalists of a federal agency. As a result of EPIC's lawsuit, the agency previously admitted that it did not conduct a Privacy Impact Assessment for the program, as required by law. EPIC has successfully obtained several Privacy Impact Assessments, including for a related media tracking system (EPIC v. DHS) and for facial recognition technology (EPIC v. FBI). In EPIC v. Presidential Election Commission, EPIC challenged the Commission's failure to publish a Privacy Impact Assessment prior to the collection of state voter data.

Categories: Privacy

EPIC Publishes "Privacy Law Sourcebook 2018"

Tue, 2018-10-16 18:00

EPIC proudly announces the 2018 edition of the Privacy Law Sourcebook, the definitive reference guide to US and international privacy law. The Privacy Law Sourcebook is an edited collection of the primary legal instruments for privacy protection in the modern age, including United States law, International law, and recent developments. The Privacy Law Sourcebook 2018 has been updated and expanded to include the modernized Council of Europe Convention on Privacy, the Judicial Redress Act, the CLOUD Act, and new materials from the United Nations. The EPIC Privacy Law Sourcebook also includes the full text of the GDPR. EPIC will make the Privacy Law Sourcebook freely available to NGOs and human rights organizations. EPIC publications and the publications of EPIC Advisory Board members are available at the EPIC Bookstore.

Categories: Privacy

EPIC v. FTC: EPIC Obtains Emails about Facebook Audits

Mon, 2018-10-15 18:10

In response to EPIC's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the FTC has released communications about Facebook's biennial audits. The audits are required by the FTC's 2011 Consent Order with Facebook, which followed a detailed complaint by EPIC and other consumer privacy organizations. The emails show that the FTC had concerns about the scope of Facebook's 2015 assessment, stating "PwC's report does not demonstrate whether and how Facebook addressed the impact of acquisitions on its Privacy Program." In other email, the FTC expressed similar concerns about the 2017 assessment and whether the audit evaluated the company's acquisitions impact on Facebook's privacy program. EPIC had previously opposed Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp and submitted detailed comments for the FTC's review of the merger remedy process. In March 2018, following the Cambridge Analytica breach, the FTC announced it was reopening the Facebook investigation, but still there is no announcement, no report, and no fine.

Categories: Privacy

EPIC, Coalition Warn Australian Bill Would Weaken Encryption

Fri, 2018-10-12 18:25

EPIC and a coalition of civil society organizations told the Australian Parliament that pending legislation would weaken digital security and increase the risks to human rights. The proposal is one of several that promotes weak encryption for digital services. In 2016, Apple refused a demand by the FBI to redesign iPhones to enable law enforcement access. The FBI sued Apple, and EPIC filed an amicus brief in support of Apple, arguing that the FBI's demand "places at risk millions of cell phone users across the United States." The FBI eventually dropped the case.

Categories: Privacy

EPIC Files Appeal with D.C. Circuit, Seeks Release of 'Predictive Analytics Report'

Fri, 2018-10-12 17:55

EPIC has appealed a federal district court decision for the release of a "Predictive Analytics Report." The district court backed the Department of Justice when the agency claimed the "presidential communications privilege." But neither the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals nor the Supreme Court has ever permitted a federal agency to invoke that privilege in a FOIA case. EPIC sued the agency in 2017 to obtain records about "risk assessment" tools in the criminal justice system. These controversial techniques are used to set bail, determine criminal sentences, and even contribute to determinations about guilt or innocence. EPIC has pursued numerous FOIA cases concerning algorithmic transparency, passenger risk assessment, "future crime" prediction, and proprietary forensic analysis. The D.C. Circuit will likely hear EPIC's appeal next year.

Categories: Privacy