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January 21, 2016updated 31 Aug 2016 9:50am

US Senate delays bill on European data privacy deal

News: The Judicial Redress Act would enable European citizens to sue over data privacy in the US.

By CBR Staff Writer

The US Senate has reportedly delayed proposed legislation on a European data privacy deal.

The bill would give US privacy rights to European citizens. Reuters reported that the delay may hinder talks over a trans-Atlantic data transfer deal that has a deadline to complete by the end of this month.

The Judicial Redress Act, which would enable citizens of some European countries to sue on data privacy in the US, is "likely to be held" from a scheduled vote on Thursday in the Senate Judiciary Committee, accorording to a panel aide cited by the Guardian.

Data protection authorities in the EU will meet in Brussels early next month to try and resolve how companies can move data between Europe and the US.

The move comes after Safe Harbour, which over 4,000 firms had used to move EU data to the US for 15 years, was ruled invalid by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in October last year.

Industry executives are becoming increasingly worried abou how the new deal won’t be completed in time.

The Information Technology Industry Council, a Washington-based organisation that represents Apple, Microsoft and other tech firms, sent executives to Europe this week to push for a quick resolution.

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The organisation warned of dire consequences in a letter sent this week to US President Barack Obama and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker if a deal is not reached as early as possible.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the organisation said its leaders are meeting with government and data protection authorities in Dublin, Amsterdam, Berlin and London ahead of the deadline.

Whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations on mass surveillance programmes by the American National Security Agency (NSA), in which it collected private data from tech giants like Apple, Facebook, and Google, caused consternation in Europe.

The information kick started the process that eventually led to the ECJ ruling in 2015.

Data protection authorities in Brussels gave companies a three month grace period to come up with an alternative legal basis with which they could transfer data between the EU and the US.

It could include binding corporate rules in multinational companies, model clauses between firms, or asking people for their approval.

Last month, the European Union agreed upon data protection laws that will impose huge fines on companies.

Under the laws, companies will be faced with fines of up to 4% of global revenue if they are found to be misusing personal data. The move could potentially result in billions of dollars in fines for companies like Facebook or Microsoft.


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