IDAC is an independent privacy watchdog with a mission to advance accountability, integrity and consumer trust in today’s increasingly complex digital ecosystem. We engage in international monitoring, investigations, education and collaboration with developers, platforms, law enforcement and policymakers to advance our mission.
The exponential growth of mobile apps, many of which are collecting, storing, sharing, and selling personal information without users’ knowledge or consent, has outpaced the oversight and enforcement capabilities of platforms and enforcement bodies. As an independent watchdog, IDAC aims to fill the gap by providing a new level of accountability to this fast-paced and under-regulated environment.
IDAC has an experienced cross-functional legal, technical and policy team and uses sophisticated forensic tools to perform static and dynamic tests to analyze applications, examine third-party data sharing, permissions and additional details over time and at scale. When we find potential misconduct or need to understand more about the context for data sharing, we conduct deeper technical investigations together with legal and policy reviews of privacy policies, platform rules and applicable law for a full understanding of the data practices of app sectors.
We identify risks and harms posed by data practices and then take action.
We intervene with app developers to remediate harms and share findings with platforms to ensure compliance with privacy rules.
When we uncover illegal activities, we notify law enforcement and regulators.
We use the data from our investigations to advocate for stronger platform oversight, targeted privacy regulation and self-regulatory initiatives.
The IDAC team will open an investigation into apps when the data collected is sensitive or there are concerns around the potential misuse of user data by the sector. For example, health, education and children’s apps have been a particular focus of our investigations. We welcome relevant information from researchers about concerns with particular apps or SDKs.
To date, our investigations have identified and remediated inappropriate data collection behaviors in connection with a number of app sectors including COVID-19 symptom and contact tracing apps, fertility apps, children’s apps, distance education apps and more.
After uncovering unfair and deceptive practices in a popular fertility app, Premom, we alerted the Federal Trade Commission, the Illinois Attorney General, and Google about our findings. There has since been a lawsuit filed against Premom and the FTC subsequently signed a landmark consent decree against a similar app prohibiting the specific practices we found in our investigation. After our investigation into 108 Covid-19 symptom and contact tracing apps, we met with enforcement officials and developers, and many apps took steps to remedy the issues we identified. After our investigation into children’s apps found illegal tracking, Google removed them from its PlayStore.
Meet Our Team
We look forward to telling you more about the real people behind the great ideas as we grow.
Leslie is the former president and CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology, and a leading voice for civil liberties, human rights, public policy and Internet freedom.
Chief of Staff and Policy Counsel
Ginny is IDAC's Chief of Staff and Policy Counsel. Ginny graduated from Cardozo School of Law, where she primarily focused on privacy and data law. Ginny has worked on American and European privacy laws and has advocated for economic justice. Ginny was previously an IDAC fellow.
Nathan specializes in creating privacy investigative devices and services. He has over 20 years of experience in data privacy including founding Good Research, lecturing at UC Berkeley, being published on major news outlets such as the New York Times, CNN and ABC, and testifying on his research before the House, Senate and Federal Trade Commission.
Will leads the technical investigations and develops tools to ensure data protection, privacy, fairness, and model accountability. Will has a background in finance, and led teams that developed, reviewed and made use of financial models.
Meet Our Board
Chair, Board of Directors
An internationally-recognized leader in privacy and data protection law, Jules is the CEO of the Future of Privacy Forum. Jules previously served as Chief Privacy Officer at AOL and DoubleClick, as Consumer Affairs Commissioner for New York City. He has extensive experience in government, as an elected New York State Legislator, congressional staffer, and attorney.
After serving as the first U.S. Chief Technology Officer in President Obama’s Administration, as well as the Secretary of Technology in Virginia, Aneesh co-founded Care Journey and is an expert on health data and technology.
Cam is the former General Counsel and Acting Secretary at the U.S. Department of Commerce. A global thought leader on privacy and cross-border information flows, Cam serves as a distinguished visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Karen is senior fellow and director of the German Marshall Fund’s Digital Innovation & Democracy Initiative. Karen served as policy director to Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate and was U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development
A leading privacy scholar and policymaker, Danny currently serves as the Director of MIT’s Internet Policy Research Initiative and Principal Research Scientist in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab. He previous served as the White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Internet Policy.