US on its way to adopt Judicial Redress Act and hopefully facilitate transfers from the EU

The US House of Representatives agreed yesterday to move forward the Judicial Redress Bill, which would ensure some foreigners the right to pursue their privacy rights in US courts. There was overwhelming bipartisan support for the Bill which will now go to the Senate.

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, who introduced the bill, said: “The sudden termination of the Safe Harbor framework strikes a blow to US businesses by complicating commercial data flows. If we fail to pass the Judicial Redress Act, we risk similar disruption to the sharing of law enforcement information.”

“In many ways, the Judicial Redress Act is a privacy bill —it is backed and supported by many of our country’s top privacy advocates —but make no mistake, the bill is crucial to US law enforcement. At the heart of the Judicial Redress Act is the pressing need for continued sharing of law enforcement data.”

The adoption of the Judicial Redress Act would represent an important step forward in the EU US negotiations over the data transfer regime that now needs a new solution after the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled the Safe Harbor arrangement illegal. This point has been mentioned as the missing piece of the negotiations on revision of the US EU Safe Harbor programme.

Speaking yesterday in a webinar (before the vote), European Data Protection Supervisor Giovanni Buttarelli said: “We have space for Safe Harbor no 2. The EU and the US are expected to speed up the negotiation process. The January 2016 deadline imposed by the national DPAs for joint enforcement is an incentive for this.”

However, Buttarelli said that the negotiations, together with a consultation process with EU Member States, European Parliament and EDPS will take time. In the meantime, another solution needs to be found.