Last night, the US House passed the Senate-amended version of the Judicial Redress Act, now headed to President Obama for signature. Progress on this front matters. This needed legislation will form a critical part of a stable and trustworthy structure for free flow of data across borders – so essential for economic growth in our digital economy.
Following last week’s agreement between the United States and European Union on the Privacy Shield, a successor to the Safe Harbor Framework as a mechanism for protecting the flow of personal information in the commercial context, enactment of the Judicial Redress Act will further harmonize US and European privacy protections as well.
The Judicial Redress Act calls for granting foreign nationals protections that US nationals enjoy under the 1974 Privacy Act – notably, the right to sue for intentional misuse of their personal information contained in US law enforcement records. This addresses a long-standing complaint from EU stakeholders that they lacked a right to judicial redress in the United States that already exists in Europe. The new law thus removes a discriminatory feature of U.S. law that has no place in today’s world of globalized communications.
Signing it into law will help clear the way for the US and EU to sign the Data Privacy and Protection Agreement, which protects individual privacy rights when law enforcement agencies cooperate on a trans-Atlantic basis. The Agreement will provide a solid basis for law enforcement agencies to share information when it is necessary to prevent, investigate and prosecute serious crimes, including terrorism.
We and our member companies commend Representatives Sensenbrenner, Goodlatte and Conyers, together with Senators Hatch, Cornyn and Murphy, for their strong leadership on this groundbreaking initiative, and we urge President Obama to swiftly sign it into law.