EPIC has sent a statement to a Senate committee in advance of a hearing on drone security. EPIC pointed to the new rules for drone operators in Europe. The EU drone rules require real-time drone identification. In 2015, EPIC made very similar recommendations to the FAA to improve drone safety in the United States. EPIC pointed to widely available technology for boats and planes and said that an app should allow anyone to determine the course, location, operator, and purpose of a nearby drone. EPIC restated the remote ID recommendation proposal in a recent statement to the agency. In a letter to the FAA last month, Senators Edward Markey (D-MA) and John Thune (R-SD) also urged the FAA to establish a rule for the real-time, remote identification of drones. During the hearing, an FAA official said the agency will issue a rule on remote drone identification later this year.
In the midst of widespread protests in Hong Kong over a proposed law for extradition, several news organizations have noted that protesters have purchased transportation services in cash rather than use the contactless payment Octopus card. Each Octopus card has a unique serial number and stores transaction records. The Octopus cards are also used for school attendance and building access. The card easily tracks the location of users. The Octopus card was the subject of privacy investigations back in 2010. EPIC has long argued that government data collection programs can stifle freedom of expression and association. EPIC presented the 2019 Champion of Freedom award to Dr. Sophie Richardson for the work of Human Rights Watch concerning surveillance in China.
In a recent court filing, EPIC opposed Facebook's attempt to intervene in EPIC's lawsuit against the Federal Trade Commission for the release of records concerning the company's compliance with the 2011 Consent Order. EPIC told the court hearing EPIC v. FTC that Facebook does not have standing to intervene because it has not established that it would suffer a substantial competitive harm as a result of public disclosure of the information EPIC is seeking. EPIC also explained that under the Freedom of Information Act companies do not decide for themselves what information they wish to withhold from the public. EPIC's FOIA lawsuit is one of several activities that EPIC is pursuing to hold Facebook accountable for compliance under the 2011 consent order. In a related FOIA lawsuit, EPIC determined that there are more than 26,000 complaints against Facebook currently pending at the FTC. EPIC also launched the #EnforcetheOrder campaign to pressure the FTC to take enforcement action against Facebook. The case is EPIC v. FTC, No. 18-942 (D.D.C).