The Electronic Privacy Information Center, EPIC, is a civil liberties group that advocates for online confidentiality rights and freedom of speech. The organization specifically deals with confidentiality and civil liberties issues that arise as a result of the usage of new media. Among the goals of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, EPIC, these rank the highest:
- Free speech and other First Amendment rights in the online world
- Anonymous speech protection
- Online privacy
- Transparency of mass government surveillance that curtails speech
- An open government
What Does the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) Do?
Most of what the Electronic Privacy Information Center does boils down to protecting and enhancing privacy and civil liberties along with First Amendment issues. Apart from that, EPIC also works towards giving the public a voice when it comes to the future of the internet and the decisions regarding it.
To further these goals, EPIC has launched the EPIC Public Voice Fund. The Public Voice Fund aims to help civil society participate more in decisions regarding how the internet is to be governed now and in the future.
EPIC has funded many other initiatives over the years, some of which are similar to the Public Voice Fund. For example, in 2017 EPIC provided funding for the following projects among others:
- Lawyers for Good Government
- European Digital Rights Initiative
- Digital Rights Fund of the Renewable Freedom Foundation
- European Center for Digital Rights
- Lawyers United
- Datos Protegidos
- Center for Digital Democracy
- Civil Society Information Society Advisory Council
Note:Funding these projects allowed EPIC to focus on civil liberties and work towards its goals of an open government and solving First Amendment rights issues. EPIC is able to push these initiatives through its Public Voice Fund, but it’s also important for them to help other projects as well.
What Is Electronic Privacy?
Much of society is now dependent on technology to carry out recurring tasks on a daily basis. The activity that arises as a result of completing those tasks generates data.
Services, both in the public and private sector, have to store that data in the form of records. Add to that the fact that more and more of our communication and business cannot happen without the frequent use of electronic technology. All of this gives rise to the need for projects like EPIC that deal with privacy, information security and other related issues.
Computer technology is now advanced and widely adopted enough to warrant a need for concrete legal rights to safeguard personal information and electronic confidentiality. Without electronic confidentiality, problems related to data protection are bound to rise. Electronic privacy also aims for more public attention on emerging privacy threats in the online world such as:
- Identity theft
- Copyright issues
- Illegal confidential data disclosure
The virtual world is still not clear on what electronic confidentiality is and how it should be protected without damaging commerce and national security.
Are EPIC’s Actions Legal?
This may be a reference to Supreme Court cases like Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis. The verdict from the Supreme Court was that an employer had a legal right to force its employee to private arbitration in a case where a problem arises between the employer and the employee. As a part of the employee contract, the employer could make giving up the employee’s right to seek help from a court as a condition of keeping their job.
For example, let’s say you work for a reasonably large corporation. If the executive director of the company harasses you or does something illegal like not paying you the required wage, there’s no way for you to go to a federal judge or seek help from the law. None of the employees of the company will be able to bring court cases collectively against that executive director. Any case has to come from an individual employee.
Is EPIC a Non-Profit?
You can always go to the websites of organizations such as EPIC to learn more about them and their programs and how they promote things like freedom and workplace privacy.
According to EPIC’s website About page, EPIC is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization.
The NGO mentions that it doesn’t have any clients and doesn’t provide any service to any customer. The organization doesn’t have any shareholders either.
Which Organizations Help Protect Consumers and Offer Information on Maintaining Online Privacy?
Well, the Electronic Privacy Information Center is one of the organizations that promotes a better internet for the people in terms of confidentiality and anonymity. Then there’s the Online Privacy Alliance or OPA which is a group of associations and corporations that promote user confidentiality in the online world.
Two other organizations that do a lot to promote confidence and trust on the internet are BBBOnLine and TRUSTe. As far as government organizations go, the FTC is the only one that has shown initiative in protecting consumer confidentiality on the internet.
How Can We Protect Consumer Privacy?
Consumers can use different confidentiality products such as VPNs, anti-virus applications, anti-spyware tools, ad-blockers and HTTPS connections for better confidentiality. You can use our guide to finding the best VPN or our online privacy guide to help protect yourself and your personal data.
Conclusion: Privacy and Civil Liberties
Organizations like EPIC have shown continuous effort towards advocating open government laws. The group seeks further progress by uncovering government surveillance program documents and other policies that affect online confidentiality rights.