EU citizens will now be able to sue over data misuse in American courts, as part of a new agreement on data security between the EU and US. It follows years of concern over the reach of the US National Security Agency.
The EU and the US reached a deal on Tuesday for comprehensive new data protection regulations which will allow Europeans to sue over improper use of their personal information in the United States.
EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova made the announcement, saying that from now on firm rules will be in place over distributing data to third countries or holding on to information for an inordinately long time.
"Once in force, this agreement will guarantee a high level of protection of all personal data when transferred between law enforcement authorities across the Atlantic," said Jourova.
"It will in particular guarantee that all EU citizens have the right to enforce their data protection rights in US courts," she added.
The move follows years of back and forth between European concerns over snooping by the NSA and US worries about stopping terrorism and serious crime.
Jourova called the agreement an "important step" to "rebuild trust in EU-US data flows."
The deal must now be approved by the US Congress in order to come into affect. Once in place, Europeans will be able to seek redress in US courts if personal data from their home countries is given to American agencies for law enforcement purposes - to control air travel to the US, for example - and then subsequently disclosed for some other reason or to a third party.
es/jr (AFP, dpa)