Congress Passes Judicial Redress Act, UK Snoopers' Charter Gets Closer Look

European citizens win right to sue the Americans over privacy violations, while Britain ponders new ways to commit privacy violations.



After several delays, the US Senate and House both passed the Judicial Redress Act and have sent it on to President Obama for his signature. The law will give European citizens the right to sue the United States if law enforcement agencies misuse their personal data.

It's a positive step towards convincing the European Union's Court of Justice (ECJ) that the US will adequately protect European citizens' privacy, and convince them to support the newly proposed EU-US data transfer agreement, Privacy Shield.

Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, lawmakers continue work on an extensive surveillance law, nicknamed the "Snooper's Charter." It was struck down initially for being too sweeping, and a joint committee this week suggested 86 changes, saying  it still requires a significant overhaul.

One of the key points of contention is the intent to allow authorities access to citizens' "Internet connection records," without giving any satisfactory definition of that term.

If such a law passes in the UK, it would no doubt fall afoul of the ECJ's opinions on privacy. The ECJ struck down the EU-US Safe Harbor data transfer agreement -- the predecessor to Privacy Shield -- largely because of the US's far-reaching surveillance laws.

The UK is currently a member state of the EU, but some time between May 2016 and December 2017, the nation will hold a referendum when when citizens will vote to decide whether to remain in the EU or leave it. If this Snooper's Charter passes and the UK exits the EU, the UK may be looking at a messy tussle over data transfer just like the US had over Safe Harbor / Privacy Shield.

 

 

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