October 23, 2015
For many years, the United States and European Union have worked together to secure data protection for their citizens under agreements known as Safe Harbor. Earlier this month, however, the European Court of Justice issued a landmark ruling invalidating the agreement because of privacy concerns.
The European Court’s ruling illustrates how fragile trust between nations can be, and this lack of trust has had huge economic and security consequences for the United States. Our businesses have struggled against public backlash and protectionist policies, and our government has faced increasingly difficult negotiations to share law enforcement and intelligence data.
The Judicial Redress Act of 2015 is central to our efforts to rebuild strained relationships with our allies and ensure privacy and security for both American and European Union citizens. In our complex digital world, privacy and security are not competing values. They are weaved together inseparably, and today’s policy makers must craft legal frameworks that support both.
This bill provides our allies with limited remedies relative to data they share with the United States —similar to those American citizens enjoy under the Privacy Act. It is a way to support our foreign allies and ensure the continued sharing of law enforcement data. Specifically, the bill will give citizens of covered countries the ability to correct flawed information in their records and access to U.S. courts if the U.S. government unlawfully discloses their personal information.
As United States citizens, we already enjoy similar protections in Europe. Granting these rights to our closest allies will be a positive step forward in restoring our international reputation and rebuilding trust.
In fact, our European colleagues have noted that the passage of the Judicial Redress Act is critical to negotiating a new agreement, central to their willingness to continue sharing law enforcement data with the United States, and necessary to improving relations between nations.
The Judicial Redress Act amounts to a small courtesy that will pay huge diplomatic and economic dividends, and the passage of this legislation is an important step forward to greater security.