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section heading icon     advocacy bodies

This page highlights industry groups and public interest advocacy bodies concerned with privacy.

It covers -

subsection heading icon     introduction

As lobbying in the US and elsewhere gets serious, industry and community groups are proliferating. T
he following paragraphs are not comprehensive - they're a selection from the plethora of bodies concerned with online privacy and the implications of new technologies.

Broader questions regarding the nature of advocacy, and of its regulation, are explored here.

subsection heading icon     activism

The Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Centre (EPIC), established by Marc Rotenberg in 1994, is perhaps the leading 'web privacy' public interest group. EPIC has produced some of the major studies in the area, including comprehensive overviews of legislation and practice in all developed economies. 

At the beginning of 2001 EPIC joined with Privacy International in establishing Privacy.Org, a privacy information gateway. Its primary focus is the US.

EPIC now faces competition from the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), after criticisms - somewhat unfair - that EPIC had been captured by the grey bermuda triangle known as the Washington Beltway. It has a strong interest in privacy, intellectual property and telecommunications access issues. The CDT has established in partnership with Common Cause and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC).

The smaller US Consumer Project on Technology (CPT) was established by Ralph Nader in 1995. In contrast, Privacilla is a "proudly free-market, pro-technology" advocacy group opposed to regulation by (but most definitely not of) the US government.

The Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR), like the somewhat faded Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has a wider ambit. Those sites are worth perusal - today's brouhaha in the USA tends to become tomorrow's policy in Australia.  The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is still playing catch-up with the technology and continues to focus on government at the expense of concerns about private sector privacy abuses.

The Internet Privacy Coalition (IPC) is a disparate grouping of cryptographers, public interest groups and businesses encouraging the widespread use of cryptography and relaxation of export controls on cryptography.

Privacy International (PI) is a global human rights group with a Sydney presence. 

The Global Internet Liberty Campaign (GILC) has a particular interest in censorship and privacy.

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC), a California-based consumer group, teaches individuals how to protect their privacy. 

subsection heading icon     business

The Online Privacy Alliance (OPA) is a US business-driven group primarily concerned with encouraging trust by online consumers. It sponsored the significant 'Georgetown' privacy survey from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown Uni., a business lobby group, has recently launched a Net Privacy Campaign aimed at US consumers. 

PrivacyExchange (PX) was established by the Center for Social & Legal Research (CSLR) - publisher of Privacy & American Business - and focuses on EU-US privacy issues. It has one of the more information-rich sites, with valuable extracts from commercial reports dating back to the 70's

Microsoft, a member with IBM of the TRUSTe organisation, announced in late 1999 that it will withdraw advertising from sites that do not have strong privacy policies. It has, however, been widely criticised for the strangelovian test-marketing in Australia and the EU of online licensing requirements for users of the Office 2000 suite. 

The Better Business Bureau, a commercial body, earlier this year launched BBBOnline, a certifying service. We have provided pointers to major ecommerce certification bodies in our consumers guide.

PrivacyChoices is a privacy education cum public relations - critics have characterised it as disinformation - offspring of online advertising and consumer monitoring giant DoubleClick.

The US Privacy Leadership Initiative (PLI) overlaps -
same members, same objectives - with the OPA.

subsection heading icon     Australia

In Australia the Communications Law Centre (CLC) in Sydney is an independent scholarly body affiliated with the University of NSW. Over the past decade it has provided incisive analysis.

The Australian Privacy Charter Council (APCC) brings together lawyers, public policy specialists and others with an interest in policy development across Australia. 

The Australian Privacy Foundation (APF) is a similar body.

Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA), modelled on the US EFF, is shrill - arguably to the point of ineffectiveness - and strongly cyberlibertarian. It is tacitly opposed by industry interests such as the Australian Direct Marketing Association (ADMA)

subsection heading icon     events

Two major international conferences are those on Computers, Freedom & Privacy (CFP) - an annual event - and the conference of Privacy Commissioners.

subsection heading icon     debate

A perspective is provided by Susan Ingargiola's 2002 thesis Realizing Privacy in the Information Age: An Exercise in Uncovering the Values Shaping the Online Privacy Debate (PDF)

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version of November 2003
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