Safe Harbor Update: House Votes to Pass Judicial Redress Act
The Judicial Redress Act of 2015 (H.R. 1428) is on its way to the U.S. Senate. On October 20th, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of passage.
The Judicial Redress Act extends certain privacy rights under the Privacy Act of 1974 (Privacy Act) to citizens of the EU and other specified countries.
The preamble to the Judicial Redress Act states that:
“The Judicial Redress Act provides citizens of covered foreign countries with the ability to bring suit in Federal district court for certain Privacy Act violations by the Federal Government related to the sharing of law enforcement information between the United States and a covered foreign government. Any such lawsuit is subject to the same terms and conditions that apply to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who seek redress against the Federal Government under the Privacy Act. Under current law, only U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents may bring claims against the Federal Government pursuant to the Privacy Act despite the fact that many countries provide U.S. citizens with the ability to seek redress in their courts when their privacy rights are violated. Enactment of this legislation is necessary in order to promote and maintain law enforcement cooperation and information sharing between foreign governments and the United States and to complete negotiations of the Data Protection and Privacy Agreement with the European Union.”
The House’s passage of the Judicial Redress Act is expected to help mitigate one of the key criticisms of U.S. privacy protection from EU regulators. As discussed in our posts from earlier this month, in the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) decision invalidating the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Program, the CJEU noted that EU residents lack an “administrative or judicial means of redress enabling, in particular, the data relating to them to be accessed and, as the case may be, rectified or erased.” Once passed by the Senate (as is generally expected), the Judicial Redress Act will provide that means of redress.