In another example of increased restriction on the rights of non-U.S. Citizens, on Thursday, April 27, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) published a policy memorandum limiting the privacy rights of immigrants and foreign nationals under the Federal Privacy Act of 1974.  This new guidance was issued to bring DHS policy in line with President Trump’s January 25 executive order.

The Privacy Act was established to govern the collection, maintenance, use and dissemination of personally-identifiable information maintained by federal agencies.  The Privacy Act, with specific exceptions, prohibits disclosure of such records without the consent of the individual.  It also provides individuals a means to access and amend their records.

Previous DHS guidance stated that such personally-identifiable information would be treated the same, regardless of citizenship.  However, consistent with the January 25 executive order, the new guidance provides that immigrants and nonimmigrant foreign nationals may not utilize these provisions and may only access their information through a request made pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  Additionally, they may not request amendments of their records.  Furthermore, in connection with the new guidance, DHS stated that it permits the sharing of such information about immigrants and nonimmigrant foreign nationals from agency records with federal, state and local law enforcement.

In response to the current Administration’s “citizen-centric” policies, we are seeing an increased interest in applications for naturalization by U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents.

From:  Ned Help

To:  Carrie Counselor

Subject: It’s been great working with you!

Carrie:

I’m writing to inform you that I am being transferred to our Rio de Janeiro office next month for a twelve month assignment.  It’s a bit daunting, but I am confident that the help you have provided me in establishing policies and practices that will serve my interests and the interests of the company. Continue Reading Innocents Abroad: Employer Considerations When Sending Employees on International Assignments or Business Travel

Kings Cross Station, London (Shutterfly)
Kings Cross Station, London (Shutterfly)

From: Ned Help

To: Carrie Counselor

Subject:  Lost laptop containing European customer information

Carrie,

A couple of weeks ago, you wrote me about an employee who will be engaging in a six-month temporary assignment around Europe to scope market opportunities. The employee was Abbie Absent-Minded.  Well, we hit a snag pretty quickly.  Abbie just e-mailed me to say that she left her laptop on a train in London last evening and it hasn’t turned up yet in the train company’s lost-and-found.  It was a brand-new laptop that we had given her for her European assignment, so fortunately it didn’t have a lot on it.  Abbie said that the laptop had contact information for her various marketing prospects, plus some sample customer data that she was given by one of her prospects to use in a demo of our web-based advertising product.  She thinks that the customer data included around 200 records with the customer’s name, age, gender, e-mail address and the history of purchases that the customer made from our prospective client’s retail stores.

I assume that we should tell our prospective client that the laptop with their customer data was lost.  What else do we need to think about?

Thanks,

Ned


Continue Reading Innocents Abroad: Lost laptop with customer data

From: Carrie Counselor

To: Ned Help

Subject: RE: Privacy considerations for employees working abroad

Dear Ned,

I understand that one of your employees will be engaging a six-month temporary assignment around Europe to scope market opportunities, and you’d like to have a better understanding of what to be thinking about in terms of privacy.  Great question!  This is an area where many employers struggle because other jurisdictions protect privacy and personal data quite differently than we do here in the United States. Continue Reading Innocents Abroad: Privacy considerations for employees working abroad