Non-profit

Electronic Privacy Information Center

Website:

epic.org/

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

52-2225921

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $1,715,419
Expenses: $1,523,199
Assets: $2,654,881

Formation:

1994

Type:

Nonprofit think tank and advocacy group

President:

Marc Rotenberg

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is a think tank concerned with the impact of technology on privacy and free speech. The organization was founded in 1994 by the Fund for Constitutional Government and the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. [1] EPIC conducts research, files lawsuits against private corporations and government bodies, sends members to testify before Congress, and funds smaller ally organizations.

Though EPIC’s goals are the maintenance of non-partisan civil liberties against private and government incursions, many of its donors are left-of-center nonprofits, and it has partnered with the social-liberal American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in litigation against internet pornography regulations and against national-security legislation.

Methods

The Electronic Privacy Information Center engages in research, lawsuits, and testimony to forward its goals.

Guides

EPIC publishes guides for public consumption on privacy issues. For instance, EPIC created a summary of privacy issues related to the 2020 Federal Census,[2] as well as the privacy risks of cloud computing. [3]

Lawsuits

EPIC has been involved in numerous high-profile lawsuits. [4]

In the early 1990s, EPIC joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in ACLU vs. Mukasey to challenge the Child Online Protection Act, which required all online distributors of pornography to restrict access to minors. [5]

EPIC has launched two lawsuits with the ACLU against the federal government to demand the public disclosure of information gathered by the PATRIOT Act in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). [6]

Most of EPIC’s independent lawsuits concern forcing the federal government to release information it collected during investigation efforts which arguably violated the Fourth Amendment. 2004’s EPIC v. DHS demanded that the Department of Homeland Security release records collected on airline passengers. 2006’s EPIC v. DOJ demanded the Department of Justice release National Security Agency data collected while monitoring private phone calls and emails for terrorist activities. [7]

The Public Voice

The Electronic Privacy Information Center founded The Public Voice in 1996 with funding from the Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundations,[8][9] two of the largest nonprofit funders of left-of-center causes in America.

The Public Voice is a coalition of nonprofit think tanks and activist groups with similar goals to EPIC. The coalition members have signed declarations for universal AI guidelines[10] and a global moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology for government surveillance systems. [11] The member organizations are:[12]

  • Communication Rights in the Information Society
  • Free Press
  • Association for Progressive Communications
  • European Digital Rights
  • Statewatch Bulletin
  • EurActive
  • GILC Alert
  • net
  • Transitions Online
  • UNESCO Observatory on the Information Society

Donor Organizations

The Electronic Privacy Information Center receives much of its funding from nonprofit organizations associated with left-of-center causes. It receives no funding nor takes meetings with tech companies. [13]

EPIC received $5-10,000 each year from 2011-2020 from the Bauman Family Foundation,[14] an organization with strong ties to Rob Stein’s Democracy Alliance.

EPIC received $18,488 in 2004 from the Tides Foundation,[15] a donor-advised fund which funnels money to numerous left-of-center nonprofits.

EPIC received $50,000 in 2006, 2009, and 2011 from the Carnegie Corporation of New York,[16] which has donated to numerous left-of-center groups since Vartan Gregorian became president in 1997.

EPIC received numerous grants of undisclosed amounts from many other left-of-center organizations, including the Arca Foundation, the John and Mary R. Markle Foundation, and the Rockefeller Family Fund. [17]

References

  1. “Electronic Privacy Information Center EPIC.” Discover the Networks. Accessed March 18, 2020. https://www.discoverthenetworks.org/organizations/electronic-privacy-information-center-epic/. ^
  2. “The Census and Privacy.” EPIC. Accessed March 18, 2020. https://epic.org/privacy/census/. ^
  3. “Cloud Computing.” EPIC. Accessed March 18, 2020. https://epic.org/privacy/cloudcomputing/. ^
  4. “Electronic Privacy Information Center EPIC.” Discover the Networks. Accessed March 18, 2020. https://www.discoverthenetworks.org/organizations/electronic-privacy-information-center-epic/. ^
  5. “ACLU v. Mukasey.” EPIC. Accessed March 18, 2020. https://www.epic.org/free_speech/copa/. ^
  6. “USA PATRIOT Act.” EPIC. Accessed March 18, 2020. https://www.epic.org/privacy/terrorism/usapatriot/default.html. ^
  7. “Electronic Privacy Information Center EPIC.” Discover the Networks. Accessed March 18, 2020. https://www.discoverthenetworks.org/organizations/electronic-privacy-information-center-epic/. ^
  8. “Electronic Privacy Information Center EPIC Annual Report 2007-2008.” EPIC. Accessed March 18, 2020. https://epic.org/epic/annual_reports/2007.pdf. ^
  9. “About Us.” The Public Voice. Accessed March 18, 2020. https://thepublicvoice.org/about-us/. ^
  10. “Universal Guidelines for Artificial Intelligence.” The Public Voice. Accessed March 18, 2020. https://thepublicvoice.org/ai-universal-guidelines/. ^
  11. “Declaration: A Moratorium on Facial Recognition Technology for Mass Surveillance.” The Public Voice. Accessed March 18, 2020. https://thepublicvoice.org/ban-facial-recognition/. ^
  12. “About Us.” The Public Voice. Accessed March 18, 2020. https://thepublicvoice.org/about-us/. ^
  13. “Do the Tech Watchdog Groups Need Watching?” CRN. Accessed March 18, 2020. https://www.crn.com/features/channel-programs/196901389/do-the-tech-watchdog-groups-need-watching.htm. ^
  14. “Electronic Privacy Information Center.” The Bauman Foundation. Accessed March 18, 2020. https://www.baumanfoundation.org/grantee/114. ^
  15. “Tides Foundation 2004 Grantee List.” Tides Foundation. Accessed March 18, 2020. https://www.tides.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Tides-Foundation-List-of-Grantees-2004.pdf. ^
  16. “Electronic Privacy Information Center.” The Carnegie Corporation of New York. Accessed March 18, 2020. https://www.carnegie.org/grants/grants-database/grantee/electronic-privacy-information-center/#!/grants/grants-database/grant/35472.0/. ^
  17. “Electronic Privacy Information Center EPIC Annual Report 2007-2008.” EPIC. Accessed March 18, 2020. https://epic.org/epic/annual_reports/2007.pdf. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 2000

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $1,715,419 $1,523,199 $2,654,881 $33,822 N $1,640,888 $2,435 $69,334 $259,112 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $1,622,722 $1,452,735 $2,349,363 $73,557 N $1,556,817 $8,038 $55,081 $250,251 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $1,119,662 $1,329,127 $2,062,755 $51,795 N $954,224 $96,163 $69,610 $228,878 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $1,644,839 $1,097,815 $2,307,887 $34,009 N $1,559,941 $24,764 $62,268 $202,545 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $804,145 $1,129,606 $1,689,481 $26,076 N $718,233 $14,467 $57,093 $202,739 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $900,041 $1,098,886 $1,922,654 $5,784 N $814,644 $17,097 $56,830 $202,668 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $1,151,696 $1,098,866 $2,047,008 $8,581 N $1,073,403 $26,498 $49,834 $192,164 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Electronic Privacy Information Center

    1718 CONNECTICUT AVE NW STE 200
    WASHINGTON, DC 20009-1148