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Friday, 5th June 2015

The US Legal System on Data Protection in the Field of Law Enforcement. Safeguards, Rights and Remedies for EU Citizens

Source: Directorate-General for Internal Policies via Statewatch

From Executive Summary:

In US law, there are a number of different legal sources that govern data protection in the field of federal law enforcement. This study first considers the two most important sources of data protection law―the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution and the Privacy Act of 1974. It then turns to the most significant methods of information collection that are available for ordinary criminal investigations and national security investigations and the data protection guarantees set down under the laws authorizing and regulating such information collection...

Among U.S. laws, the Privacy Act of 1974 is the closest analogue to a European data protection law in that it seeks to regulate comprehensively personal data processing, albeit only with respect to federal government departments and agencies. It regulates the collection, use, and disclosure of all types of personal information, by all types of federal agencies, including law enforcement agencies. At a general level, the Privacy Act contains most of the elements of the EU right to personal data protection. However, it only protects US citizens and permanent residents, not EU citizens. Furthermore, there are a number of exemptions available specifically for law enforcement agencies.

+ Direct link to document (PDF; 354 KB)



Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »

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