US enacts law to provide some privacy rights for EU citizens

President Obama signed, on 24 February, the Judicial Redress Bill which gives Europeans the right to sue the United States for unlawful disclosure of personal information. The new right is the same as that afforded to American citizens under the Privacy Act 1974, which governs the federal government’s collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of information about individuals.

Yesterday, the EU Commission issued documentation for the EU-US Privacy Shield which is hoped to create a new transatlantic data transfer arrangement. The European Union said during the negotiations for the Privacy Shield that the Judicial Redress Act represented an important gesture of creating trust.

EU Justice Commissioner, Věra Jourová, said: "I welcome the signature of the Judicial Redress Act by President Obama [today]. This new law is a historic achievement in our efforts to restore trust in transatlantic data flows. The Judicial Redress Act will ensure that all EU citizens have the right to enforce data protection rights in US courts, as called for in President Juncker's political guidelines. US citizens already enjoy this right in Europe.”

The adoption of the Judicial Redress Act means that the US and the EU can now sign the so called Umbrella Agreement, which facilitates data transfers between the two regions for law enforcement purposes: investigating, detecting or prosecuting criminal offences, including terrorism, in the framework of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters.

See EU statement at