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US promises to extend privacy to EU residents

Eric Holder promises a cosy embrace
Fri Jun 27 2014, 11:38
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UNITED STATES attorney general Eric Holder has promised European ministers that his country will offer some sort of mutually beneficial cross-borders privacy agreement.

This is post-Snowden stuff, and Holder and his European counterparts have dealt with a lot of flack and fallout following the whistleblower's leaks.

Holder, who was at a meeting of home affairs and justice ministers in Athens, said that the government wanted to make sure that Europeans have the same methods of redress as US citizens.

"The Obama administration is committed to seeking legislation that would ensure that ... EU citizens would have the same right to seek judicial redress for intentional or willful disclosures of protected information and for refusal to grant access or to rectify any errors in that information, as would a US citizen under the Privacy Act," he said, according to a report at the Guardian.

"This commitment, which has long been sought by the EU, reflects our resolve to move forward not only on the data protection and privacy agreement but on strengthening transatlantic ties."

European Commission VP Viviane Reding welcomed the news, but added that action must swiftly follow talk.

"The US administration is now announcing that it will take legislative action to fill the gap between the rights that US citizens enjoy in the EU today and the rights EU citizens do not have in the US - something which the Commission has been arguing for during the past three years. This is an important first step towards rebuilding trust in our transatlantic relations," she added.

"Now the announcement should be swiftly translated into legislation so that further steps can be taken in the negotiation. Words only matter if put into law. We are waiting for the legislative step." µ


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