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Safe Harbor Update: House Votes to Pass Judicial Redress Act

The Judicial Redress Act of 2015 (H.R. 1428) (Judicial Redress Act) is on its way to the U.S. Senate. On October 20th, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of passage. The Judicial Redress Act extends certain privacy rights under the Privacy Act of 1974 (Privacy Act) to citizens of the EU and other specified countries. The preamble to the Judicial Redress Act states that: “The Judicial Redress Act provides citizens of covered foreign countries with the ability to bring suit in Federal district court for certain Privacy Act violations by the Federal Government related to the sharing of law enforcement information between the United States and a covered foreign government. Any such lawsuit is subject to the same terms and conditions that apply to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who seek redress against the Federal Government under the Privacy Act. Under current law, only U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents may bring claims...

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Safe Harbor Update: Safe Harbor Sequel Coming Soon?

As we wrote on October 6, 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) announced its invalidation of the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor program as a legally valid pathway for transferring personal data of European Union (EU) residents from the EU to the United States. An avalanche of reports, analyses and predictions followed the CJEU announcement because so many U.S. businesses operating in the EU relied on the validity of the Safe Harbor program. As we expected, the CJEU decision was not the final chapter. On October 16, the Article 29 Working Party on the Protection of Individuals with Regard to the Processing of Personal Data (the Working Party, an independent advisory board to data protection authorities in EU members states) called on the EU member states to “open discussions with the US” to find a viable alternative to the Safe Harbor program. Echoing the CJEU’s concern about “massive and indiscriminate surveillance” by the U.S. government, the Working...

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Court of Justice of the European Union Says Safe Harbor Is No Longer Safe

Earlier today, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) announced its determination that the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor program is no longer a “safe” (i.e., legally valid) means for transferring personal data of EU residents from the European Union to the United States. The CJEU determined that the European Commission’s 2000 decision (Safe Harbor Decision) validating the Safe Harbor program did not and “cannot eliminate or even reduce the powers” available to the data protection authority (DPA) of each EU member country. Specifically, the CJEU opinion states that a DPA can determine for itself whether the Safe Harbor program provides an “adequate” level of personal data protection (i.e., “a level of protection of fundamental rights and freedoms that is essentially equivalent to that guaranteed within the European Union” as required by the EU Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC)). The CJEU based its decision invalidating that Safe Harbor opinion in part on...

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The Highest Court in the European Union Strikes Down the Data Retention Directive as Invalid

In a significant move, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that the Data Retention Directive 2006/24/EC (Directive) is invalid. This decision is expected to have wide-reaching implications for privacy laws across the European Union. On 8 April 2014, the CJEU held that the requirement imposed on internet service providers (ISP) and telecom companies to retain data for up to two years “entails a wide-ranging and particularly serious interference with [the] fundamental rights [to respect for private life and communications and to the protection of personal data] in the legal order of the EU, without such an interference being precisely circumscribed by provisions to ensure that it is actually limited to what is strictly necessary.” The Directive The Directive is a product of heightened security concerns in the aftermath of terrorist attacks around the world. It facilitated almost unqualified access by national authorities to the data...

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