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Latest News [August 14, 2000]

  • Federal Judge Orders Fast FBI Action on Carnivore Information. In response to a lawsuit filed by EPIC, U.S. District Judge James Robertson has ordered the FBI to establish a timetable for release of information about the "Carnivore" system no later than August 16. On August 2, EPIC asked the Court to order the immediate public disclosure of information concerning the Federal Bureau of Investigation's controversial surveillance system. In an application (HTML) (PDF) filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, EPIC charged that the Department of Justice and the FBI violated the law by failing to act on a request to expedite the processing of a Freedom of Information Act request EPIC submitted to the FBI on July 12. See EPIC's press release for more details.

  • Consumer Groups Oppose FTC Online Profiling Agreement, Urge Stronger Action. On August 9, fourteen consumer and privacy groups signed onto a group letter asking Congress to closely analyze the proposal and to establish privacy protections supported by millions of consumers. Previously, on July 28, EPIC and Junkbusters released "Network Advertising Initiative: Principles not Privacy", a report that assesses past events surrounding Internet advertisers, analyzes the recent self-regulatory guidelines approved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and proposes solutions that will provide for the adequate protection of online privacy. The two groups also sent a letter to the Senate Commerce Committee urging them to examine the proposal. For background, also see the June 21 letter from several Senators on the Commerce Commitee to the FTC, urging the inclusion of consumers and privacy groups in the negotiations.

  • FTC Endorses Self-Regulatory Internet Advertising Principles. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that it supports the Network Advertising Initiative's Self-Regulatory Principles for online advertising. The Network Advertising Initiative includes most of the major online advertisers including DoubleClick, Engage, and 24/7 Media. In February 2000, EPIC filed a complaint (PDF) with the FTC that DoubleClick had violated laws prohibiting unfair and deceptive business practices. For more information, also see EPIC's testimony submitted for Congressional hearings on Online Profiling in June 2000 and Online Privacy (PDF) in July 1999.

  • FBI System Takes a Bite Out of Privacy. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has rolled out a new system to monitor private communications -- "Carnivore." The first public discussion of the system was contained in Congressional testimony delivered earlier this year. EPIC has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for details. The House Subcommittee on the Constitution held hearings on the controversial system on July 24. More on the history of FBI monitoring of Internet communications and the earlier program, "Operation Root Canal," is available at the EPIC Wiretap Page. An online, grassroots petition drive against Carnivore is being organized at the Stop Carnivore website.

  • White House to "Update" the Federal Wiretap Statute. On July 17, White House Chief of Staff, John Podesta, announced that the Government is proposing legislation to harmonize the rules governing the interception of electronic communications. The proposal calls for ways to make the wiretapping rules "more effective for law enforcement while also assuring privacy and civil liberties." Draft legislation has not yet been released. Podesta also announced updates to the Administration's encryption export policy. For more information on the history of these issues, see EPIC's Wiretap and Crypto pages.

  • FTC Settles with Toysmart.com. On July 10, the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against failed online retailer Toysmart.com for selling customer lists despite earlier privacy statements that their customers' personal data would never be shared with a third party. The customer lists were included as assets to be sold as part of the company's bankruptcy proceedings. On July 21, the FTC issued its settlement with Toysmart.com allowing the lists to be sold as long as the sale occurs before July 2001, the customer lists are bought by a family-oriented company, and the buyer agrees to abide by the original Toysmart.com privacy policy.

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EPIC Resources & Guides

The EPIC Alert. The current and back issues of EPIC's award-winning newsletter on civil liberties in the information age. Subscribe now.

EPIC's Bill-Track. Track pending legislation on Privacy and Cyber-Liberties in the 106th Congress.

EPIC Bookstore. Browse the cyber shelves of good books on privacy, free speech, and civil liberties at the Internet's only bookstore devoted to online freedom. Shipping, discounts, and gift wrapping provided!

Former Secrets. View scanned images of previously classified government documents obtained by EPIC under the Freedom of Information Act.

EPIC's Online Guide to Practical Privacy Tools. Information on how to get PGP, RSA SecurPC, and other encryption programs, anonymous remailers and surfing the net anonymously.

EPIC's Online Guide to Privacy Resources. All the best sites, newsletters, conferences, and organizations on and off the net.

EPIC Policy Archives

Computer Security. Is Cyberspace secure? Hackers, information warfare, laws and guidelines. Includes resources on Critical Infrastructure Protection.

Cryptography Policy. Who holds the keys to online privacy? Clipper Chip, key escrow, export controls, reports and more.

Free Speech. Freedom of speech issues on the Internet including anonymous speech, liability, censorship, and the pending challenge to the Child Online Protection Act. EPIC's Faulty Filters report is also online.

Freedom of Information. How to use the Freedom of Information Act and other laws to obtain information on government activities. See documents EPIC has obtained. Learn how to get your own files.

Privacy. The A to Z's of privacy. From airline passenger profiling and Caller ID to Social Security Numbers and Wiretapping.

About EPIC

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, the First Amendment, and constitutional values. EPIC is a project of the Fund for Constitutional Government. EPIC works in association with Privacy International, an international human rights group based in London, UK and is also a member of the Global Internet Liberty Campaign, the Internet Free Expression Alliance, the Internet Privacy Coalition, and the Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD).

EPIC's Litigation Docket. Learn about the privacy, First Amendment, and Freedom of Information Act court cases brought by the legal team at EPIC. Defending your rights in cyberspace!

EPIC Advisory Board and Staff. The people behind EPIC and their pages.

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