During recent meetings in Brussels, European Parliament members and staff “reported that both the U.S. government and U.S. industry are mounting an unprecedented lobbying campaign to limit the protections that European law would provide,” the groups write.
"We expect leadership from those who represent the United States overseas and we expect that the views of American consumers and privacy advocates, not simply business leaders, will be conveyed to your counterparts," the letter reads.
The letter was sent to Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderArianna Huffington meets with Uber CEO in wake of harassment claims Obama-era cash for cronies under House fire Uber taps Eric Holder to investigate sexual harassment claims MORE, Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryFormer Obama officials say Netanyahu turned down secret peace deal: AP How dealmaker Trump can resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict John Kerry to teach at Yale on global issues MORE, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank and William Kennard, U.S. ambassador to the European Union.
The privacy groups said their meetings with European officials also illustrated that the EU shares many of same concerns about privacy protections as their American counterparts. For example, EU officials said they were concerned about “the absence of safeguards for personal data stored in the cloud.”
In the letter, the privacy advocates argued that both the U.S. and Europe need to update their privacy laws. They urged the U.S. officials to push for the implementation of the president’s privacy bill of rights and reform of the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
“Enactment of robust privacy legislation in the United States should be a top priority for the administration. As the President explained last year, the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights is ‘a blueprint for privacy in the information age. ... My administration will work to advance these principles and work with Congress to put them into law,’ ” the groups write. “And the US should not stand in the way of Europe’s efforts to strengthen and modernize its legal framework.”
The letter was signed by more than a dozen privacy advocates, including the Center for Digital Democracy, American Civil Liberties Union and Consumer Federation of America.
Last month the groups urged the EU to forge ahead with its proposed data privacy rules despite the pushback it received from the U.S. government and American tech companies.