US attorney general Eric Holder recently announced that the US plans to extend Europeans the same privacy rights it does with US citizens. Speaking at a US/EU home affairs and justice ministers gathering in Greece recently, Holder said the the Obama administration plans to create legislation to protect Europeans essentially the same way Americans are under the 1974 Privacy Act.
EU citizens will be granted "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," Holder said at the meeting.
The Privacy Act "prohibits the disclosure of a record about an individual from a system of records absent the written consent of the individual, unless the disclosure is pursuant to one of twelve statutory exceptions," as defined by the US Department of Justice. The exceptions mentioned are things like public studies and law enforcement among others.
While it appears the US is trying to mend ties with the EU after Snowden documents put top secret NSA espionage operations across the European Union out in the public, some European officials are not yet convinced by Holder's announcement. He is being somewhat criticized for his lack of detail with the supposedly upcoming legislation, sparking some to question its validity. EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding told the Guardian that "words only matter if put into law." As with most of these things, only time will tell if it the the US actually takes the "legislative step," as Reding puts it.
Image via The Washington Post