Google has been a high-profile advocate for stronger privacy laws following NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations about government surveillance activities last year. Continuing that trend, Google chief legal officer David Drummond has published a post on the Google Europe Blog this morning that calls for the U.S. Privacy Act to be extended to European citizens.
Drummond explains that Google supports legislation for European citizens to have the right to fight against the misuse of their personal data by the U.S. government in U.S. courts, a right that Americans already have in many European courts. President Barack Obama’s administration has already pledged to support this change, and Google claims it looks forward to working with Congress to ensure it happens.
From the Google Europe Blog:
However, the US Government can signal a new attitude when representatives of the European Commission visit Washington DC tomorrow. Right now, European citizens do not have the right to challenge misuse of their data by the US government in US courts — even though American citizens already enjoy this right in most European countries. It’s why Google supports legislation to extend the US Privacy Act to EU citizens. The Obama Administration has already pledged its support for this change and we look forward to to working with Congress to try and make this happen.
We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens. The emergence of ISIS and other new threats have reminded us all of the dangers we face. But the balance in the US and many other countries has tipped too far in favour of the state and away from the rights of the individual — rights that are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.