On October 20, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives ("House") passed the "Judicial Redress Act," or H.R. 1428.6 The stated purpose of the bill is to extend privacy rights and civil remedies of U.S. citizens set forth under the Privacy Act of 1974 ("Privacy Act") to citizens of certain foreign countries, including European Union ("EU") Member States. The bill would grant citizens of the specified countries the right to sue certain U.S. government agencies in U.S. courts for unlawful disclosure of these citizens' records held by these agencies, and to access or correct these records.
The bill applies to records of citizens of specified countries that contain information shared by covered countries with U.S. law enforcement for purposes associated with investigation, detection, and prosecution of criminal offenses. The bill, sponsored by Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for consideration.
By extending judicial redress provided to U.S. citizens to EU citizens, the Act would help bring into force the U.S.-EU Umbrella Agreement ("Umbrella Agreement"). The Umbrella Agreement would establish a data protection framework for cooperation between the EU and United States with regard to law enforcement. The bill has been discussed by Members of Congress and industry stakeholders during two separate House subcommittee hearings on cross-border data flows held on November 3, 2015 as part of a potential solution to address the October 6, 2015 invalidation of the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework.