EU sees progress in US data protection talks

Jun 25, 2014
Attorney General Eric Holder (L), and EU Principal Vice-President Commissioner for Justice, Viviane Reding, participate in a meeting at the Justice Department on November 21, 2011 in Washington

The EU on Wednesday said the US had taken an "important step" in ongoing privacy protection talks by pledging new legislation to allow Europeans to sue over improper use of their personal data.

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said the promise of by US Attorney General Eric Holder was "an important step in the right direction."

The planned legislation, to be enacted by Congress, would permit EU to seek redress in US courts if released by their home countries to US agencies for law enforcement purposes are subsequently disclosed, the US Attorney General said.

"The Obama administration (will) seek to work with Congress to enact (the) legislation," Holder said in a statement.

The legislation would "fill the gap between the rights US citizens enjoy in the EU today, and the rights EU citizens do not have in the US," Reding said in a statement.

"Now the announcement should be swiftly translated into legislation so that further steps can be taken in the negotiation," she said.

Reding and Holder are in Athens for a justice and home affairs ministerial meeting under the rotating EU presidency held by Greece.

The EU and the US have been in talks since 2011 on a data protection agreement to protect personal information transferred for law enforcement purposes.

The negotiations are in a "final stage" according to Brussels.

In the EU, is considered to be a basic right whose commercial use must be carefully controlled.

A key concern in Europe—where memories of surveillance by fascist and communist dictatorships remain alive—is the pressure Washington exerts on giant US companies to hand over personal data, including those of EU citizens, on national security grounds.

Up to now, Brussels and Washington have reconciled their differences in a voluntary 2001 'Safe Harbour' agreement meant to ensure US companies respect EU norms on commercial use of personal data.

Explore further: EU lays down steps US must take to protect data

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

EU lays down steps US must take to protect data

Nov 27, 2013

The EU on Wednesday laid down steps Washington must take to restore trust after a huge spying scandal, including giving EU citizens the right to US legal redress to protect personal data.

Internet giants to face tougher EU data law

Jun 06, 2014

Foreign firms operating in the EU, including those that dominate the Internet, will be subject to a new data protection law which is still being finalised, the EU Commission said Friday.

EU wants privacy guarantees from US amid Prism crisis

Jun 11, 2013

The EU said Tuesday it will seek a strong commitment from the United States to respect the rights of European citizens, following revelations that Washington is running a worldwide Internet surveillance programme.

EU urges US to bolster data protection practices

Dec 06, 2011

(AP) -- The EU wants the United States to strengthen data protection practices in order to create a uniform "privacy landscape" on both sides of the Atlantic, a top official said Tuesday.

EU data protection reform to replace national laws

Nov 28, 2011

The European Union wants to replace a mishmash of national laws on data protection with one bloc-wide reform, updating laws put in place long before Facebook and other social networking sites even existed.

EU, Merkel to raise NSA program with US officials

Jun 10, 2013

Senior European Union officials will question their American counterparts about previously undisclosed U.S. surveillance programs during a trans-Atlantic ministerial meeting in Dublin starting Thursday.

Recommended for you

Hacked emails slice spam fast

1 hour ago

Spam spreads much faster and to more people when it is being propagated by hacked, or otherwise compromised, email accounts rather than legitimate accounts, according to research published in the International Journal of ...

Ten ways to stay safe while shopping online

Nov 25, 2014

As the holiday shopping season gets underway, the importance of avoiding hackers, phishing scams and phony websites while buying online becomes increasingly important.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.