In letter to the Biden administration, EPIC and a coalition of 40 privacy, immigration, and civil liberties organizations urged the administration to abandon the proposed U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 as an extension of the Trump administration's border policy. The proposed legislation would direct DHS to deploy a bevy of biometric and other surveillance technologies at points of entry and along the southern border. The letter describes how such technologies endanger the lives of migrants by pushing them onto more dangerous travel routes. The use of surveillance technologies at the border inevitably extends into the interior, where they are deployed against protesters, communities of color, and indigenous peoples. EPIC recently urged DHS to rescind a proposed rule increasing the agency's collection of biometric information.
In comments to the New York Police Department, EPIC called for meaningful limits on the use of mass surveillance technologies including facial recognition, airplanes and drones, automated license plate readers, and social media monitoring tools. EPIC also joined with privacy and civil liberties advocates and academics in coalition comments urging the NYPD to make a good faith effort to meet the requirements of the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technologies (POST) Act. The POST Act requires the NYPD to publish impact statements and use policies for 36 surveillance technologies. The Department's draft policies fail to disclose necessary information including detailed data storage, retention, and auditing practices, do not name the vendors of these technologies, and gloss over systemic racial discrimination in the use of these technologies with boilerplate language. The disclosures illuminate the use of technologies by the NYPD that enable mass surveillance and have extensive documented risks of bias and inaccuracy. EPIC leads a campaign to Ban Face Surveillance, and through the Public Voice coalition gathered support from over 100 organizations and experts from more than 30 countries.
EPIC and a coalition of 42 other organizations sent a letter to President Biden to commit to making transparency a top priority in his new administration. President Biden has pledged to "bring transparency and truth back to government," and advocates like EPIC intend to hold his administration accountable to these promises. The group asked the President to, among other things: direct agencies to adopt new Freedom of Information Act guidelines that prioritize transparency and the public interest; direct the Attorney General to issue new FOIA guidance; assess, preserve, and disclose key records of the previous administration; endorse legislative improvements for public records laws like FOIA and the Public Records Act; and seek funding increases for public records laws. The letter emphasized that "[a]s our country's history has shown us time and time again, when government secrecy proliferates, so do civil liberties violations and obstacles to democratic accountability." EPIC's Open Government Project frequently makes use of the FOIA to obtain information from the government, often litigating to force disclosure of agency records that impact critical privacy interests.