US delays European data privacy billdelays European data privacy bill

21 January 2016
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US lawmakers are delaying legislation that would give Europeans access to US privacy rights, sources told Reuters on Wednesday.

The same sources said that the delay could complicate negotiations for a broader trans-Atlantic data transfer that has a deadline in January.

The Judicial Redress Act, which would allow citizens of European allied countries to sue over data privacy in the United States, is “likely to be held” from a scheduled vote on Thursday in the Senate Judiciary Committee, a panel aide said.

Passage of the legislation is viewed as an important step toward securing a new “Safe Harbor” framework after the previous one was struck down by a top European Union court last year amid concerns about US surveillance.

More than 4,000 firms, including tech behemoths such as Google and IBM, have been relying on the 15-year-old Safe Harbor framework to freely transfer data between the United States and Europe, which has far stricter rules on the privacy of personal information.

But that deal was ruled invalid last October by the Court of Justice of the European Union, which cited revelations about US mass surveillance by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

European Union data protection authorities have given Brussels and Washington until the end of January to strike a new Safe Harbor agreement for transferring personal data.

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