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July 2009 Archives

July 1, 2009

Facebook to Change User Privacy Settings

Facebook announced planned changes to user privacy controls today. Chris Kelly, Facebook's Chief Privacy Officer, stated that the new policy will promote "control, simplicity and connection" for user data. The announcement states there will be no changes in term of "the information Facebook provides to advertisers" but does not address concerns about the information provided by Facebook to app developers. In June, European Privacy Commissioners warned about the secondary use of personal data collected by social network services. The officials issued an opinion requiring robust security, privacy-friendly default settings, and the application of European privacy law. In April, EPIC supported the adoption of the new Facebook Terms of Service when Facebook said that "users own and control their information." See EPIC Social Networking Privacy.

July 7, 2009

Privacy Commissioners Conference Program Announced

The 31st international conference of data protection and privacy commissioners will be held in Madrid, Spain, November 4-6, 2009. The program and registration details for "Privacy Today is Tomorrow" are now available. A wide range of speakers from government, industry, and civil society will be participating. The Public Voice will host a civil society conference on November 3 - "Global Privacy Standards for a Global Economy."

July 10, 2009

Administration Will Require E-Verify for All Federal Contractors

The Obama Administration announced that it is moving forward with a plan to require all federal government contractors and subcontractors to verify a employment eligibility with the federal government. The program known as E-Verify is run by the Department of Homeland Security. E-Verify operated as a voluntary employment verification system, and served about 3,000 employers. In 2007, EPIC testified in Congress that the employment eligibility database is filled with errors and warned that determination errors are likely. The Administration also said it would rescind the use of the "No Match" requirement. See EPIC E-Verify.

Inspector Generals Release Report on President's Surveillance Program

The Inspector Generals of the Intelligence Community released a report on the President's Surveillance Program. The report summarizes the unclassified collective results of the reviews. The Program involved the massive, warrantless surveillance of Americans in the United States. The IG Report finds that the absence of effective oversight contributed to the ineffectiveness of the program. In December 2005, EPIC had requested the legal opinions that were prepared to justify the program. The government has refused to produce many key documents, and EPIC sued under the Freedom of Information Act. In March this year, the Attorney General released several related memos, which previously were secret, following President Obama's statement on government transparency. See EPIC FISA, EPIC Surveillance FOIA, EPIC Wiretapping, and EPIC National Security Letters.

July 6, 2009

2009 ALA Conference

2009 ALA Annual Conference Lillie Coney, EPIC Associate Director McCormick Place West Chicago, IL July 11, 2009

July 13, 2009

Sotomayor Hearings Begin

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings begin this week for Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who has been nominated for the United States Supreme Court. EPIC has prepared an extensive page on the nomination process and the notable cases of Judge Sotomayor on privacy, open government, and the First Amendment. See EPIC Nomination of Judge Sotomayor.

July 16, 2009

EPIC LiveTweeting Sotomayor Hearing

EPIC Executive Director Marc Rotenberg, a former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, is tweeting the Sotomayor nomination hearing this week. The tweets cover #privacy #sotomayor and #scotus. Recap and updates available at @privacy140. EPIC has prepared an extensive background page on Judge Sotomayor. See EPIC Nomination of Judge Sotomayor.

Canadian Privacy Commissioner Holds that Facebook Must Strengthen Privacy Safeguards

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada today released a Report of Findings into the Complaint Filed by the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic against Facebook Inc. The complaint, filed under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, contained twenty-four allegations concerning a range of Facebook business practices, including Default Privacy Settings, Advertising, and Third-Party Applications. The Commissioner found that Facebook has taken some steps to address privacy, but that more safeguards are necessary. Facebook has 30 days to respond. See EPIC Facebook Privacy and EPIC Social Networking Privacy.

July 22, 2009

Senate Judiciary Committee Considers National Biometric Identification System

Senator Schumer (D-NY) is proposing a new system to track all US workers to determine employment eligibility. The plan for the employment verifiability system involves the collection of biometric information. The Department of Homeland Security would approve or disapprove individuals for employment. Automated biometric identification systems raise questions about the scalability, reliability, accuracy, and security of the data collected. See EPIC Biometric Identification.

July 23, 2009

Privacy Opposition to Google Books Settlement Grows

Civil liberties organizations are urging Internet users to tell Google to adopt privacy protections for the Google Book Search. A judge in New York will determine later this year whether to approve the proposed settlement that would establish the service and give Google access to detailed personal information without any privacy safeguards. For more information, see EPIC Google Books Settlement and Privacy.

New Cybersecurity Legislation Introduced in Congress

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) introduced The Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2009. The statute requires data brokers, business entities and federal agencies to create and implement data privacy and security practices. The bill requires data breach notification, enforces disclosure and accuracy requirements, and establishes an Office of Federal Identity Protection within the FTC. However, the bill preemepts stronger state privacy laws and fails to provide a right of private action for consumers. For more information, see EPIC Identity Theft, EPIC Personal Data and Privacy Protection, and EPIC Preemption Page.

July 27, 2009

White House Seeks Comments on Web Tracking, EPIC Urges Ban be Maintained on Persistent Identifiers

The Office of Management and Budget is seeking public comments on the use of Web tracking techniques on federal government websites. Government agencies are currently prohibited from using persistent identifiers, such as cookies, except when there is a compelling need. EPIC, in comments to the President's Office of Science & Technology, said that the government should not track users who are seeking online access to public information. EPIC is also pursuing a FOIA request concerning the transfer of personal information collected by federal agencies to private vendors. Comments are due to OMB by Aug. 10, 2009. Suggestions may also be submitted at the OSTP blog. For more information on persistent tracking, see EPIC Cookies.

July 28, 2009

Alternative Approaches to Open Digital Libraries in the Shadow of the Google Book Search Settlement

"Alternative Approaches to Open Digital Libraries in the Shadow of the Google Book Search Settlement" Marc Rotenberg, EPIC Executive Director Berkman Center Harvard Law School Cambridge, Mass. July 31, 2009

July 24, 2009

Alternative Approaches to Open Digital Libraries in the Shadow of the Google Book Search Settlement

"Alternative Approaches to Open Digital Libraries in the Shadow of the Google Book Search Settlement" Marc Rotenberg, EPIC Executive Director Berkman Center Harvard Law School Cambridge, Mass. July 31, 2009

July 31, 2009

Extreme Inference: Implications of Data Intensive Advanced Correlation Techniques

Marc Rotenberg,
EPIC Executive Director

Aspen Institute
Communications and Society Program
Aspen, CO
August 4-7, 2009

About July 2009

This page contains all entries posted to epic.org in July 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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