The House unanimously passed legislation Tuesday that would let people in other countries sue the U.S. government for certain kinds of privacy violations.
The bill, the Judicial Redress Act, is an attempt to rebuild international trust in the wake of leaks by Edward Snowden that revealed the scope of U.S. surveillance operations.
“In recent years, several broad and highly publicized leaks of classified U.S. intelligence information have eroded the global public’s trust in the United States government and our technology sector. As a result, both the federal government and U.S. businesses that operate overseas are facing growing challenges from proposals to limit the international flow of data,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, said in a speech on the House floor. “The Judicial Redress Act can go a long way toward restoring our allies’ faith in U.S. data privacy protection.”
The bill would extend protections under the Privacy Act of 1974 to citizens of European nations and other U.S. allies. That change would limit who could access information about non-Americans and would allow non-Americans to demand to review information that a U.S. agency collects about them. The non-Americans could also sue the U.S. government if it discloses their private information without their consent. But the law includes broad exceptions for national security and other purposes.