EU-USA Data protection: EPIC: 'Judicial Redress Act' Provides Little Redress

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"The Judicial Redress Act of 2015, which amends the Privacy Act of 1974, has been passed by Congress and moved on to the President for signature.

The Act fails to extend Privacy Act protections to non-US citizens, and as adopted coerces EU countries to transfer data to the US, even without adequate protection, or be denied legal rights. Congress adopted the narrow amendment without any changes to benefit US citizens even after a data breach compromised 21.5 million records maintained by the Office of Personnel Management.

EPIC had recommended changes to the bill to adequately protect the privacy of non-US persons. EPIC noted that the Privacy Act, as adopted in 1974, defined an "individual" entitled to protection under the Act as "a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence." This definition reflected the reality of the time, when US federal agencies maintained little information about non-US persons.

EPIC informed Congress that the simple solution would be to amend the Privacy Act's definition of "individual" to mean "any natural person." EPIC argued that the change would be the most straightforward solution for permitting transborder data flows while providing adequate privacy
protections to non-US persons. The solution also mirrors the approach of the US Freedom of Information Act, which does not distinguish between US and non-US persons.

EPIC also urged the US Senate Judiciary Committee to postpone legislative action until the Department of Justice released a secret data transfer agreement on which the bill is based. The so-called "Umbrella Agreement" outlines data transfers between law enforcement agencies in Europe and the United States. EPIC sued the DOJ for release of the document. The agency has since released the Umbrella Agreement to EPIC." [emphasis added: Source:

US Congress: Text of Judicial Redress Act of 2015 (Feb. 12, 2016)

EPIC: Privacy Act of 1974

EPIC: Letter to House Judiciary Committee re: Act (Sep. 15, 2015)

EPIC: Letter to Senate Judiciary Committee re: Act (Jan. 14, 2016)

EPIC: Data Protection 2016

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