An important post from Papers, Please! cuts to the heart of the matter…
Serious scrutiny of the terms of the Privacy Act, and of the history of attempts by US citizens to use the Privacy Act to protect themselves against misuse of our personal information by the US government, has been largely absent from the debate about the Judicial Redress Act. But from our experience as parties to one of the key lawsuits attempting to assert Privacy Act claims by US citizens in relation to one of the most controversial categories of personal information being transferred from the EU to the US — passenger name records (PNRs) for international airline flights — we have learned an important lesson that Europeans need to know: the Privacy Act is so limited and riddled with exceptions that it is almost worthless. It is because the Privacy Act is useless, not because the US government follows fair personal information practices in its dragnet surveillance, that there are so few examples of successful litigation against the US government by US citizens under the Privacy Act.
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