Proposed legislation that would give US privacy rights to European citizens is being delayed in the US Senate, which may hinder negotiations over a trans-Atlantic data transfer deal that has a January deadline for completion, according to Reuters.
The Judicial Redress Act, which would allow citizens of some European countries to sue over data privacy in the US, is likely to be held from a vote on Thursday in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The legislation is considered an important step to securing a “Safe Harbor” framework, after the lsat one was stuck down by a European Union court last year over concerns about US surveillance.
Over 4,000 firms, including Google and IBM, have been relying on the 15 year old Safe Harbor framework to transfer data between the US and Europe – which has stricter controls on the privacy of personal information.
That deal however was invalidated last October by the Court of Justice of the European Union, citing revelations about the US mass surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden.
EU data protection authorities have given the US and Europe until the end of January to come to agree on a new Safe Harbor agreement for the transfer of personal data.
Industry executives are becoming increasingly alarmed over concerns that the new agreement won’t be completed in time. The Information Technology Industry Council, a Washington-based organisation that represents Apple, Microsoft and other tech companies, sent executives to Europe this week to attempt a quick resolution.
The organisation warned of enormous consequences in a letter this week to President Obama and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker if a deal is not reached soon. 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.
EU regulators will meet on February 2nd to decide whether to enforce action against companies if they decide that all transfer mechanisms violate EU law and there is no new framework in place.