Biden Crack Down Sale of Americans’ Personal Data to China & Russia

Biden Crack Down Sale of Americans’ Personal Data to China & Russia

To safeguard the privacy and security of American citizens, President Joe Biden has issued an Executive Order to prevent the sale and transfer of sensitive personal data to countries deemed as threats, notably China and Russia.

This decisive action represents the most significant effort by any U.S. administration to protect Americans’ data security from foreign exploitation.

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A Bold Step for Data Security

The Executive Order empowers the Attorney General to block the large-scale transfer of sensitive personal data, including genomic, biometric, personal health, geolocation, financial data, and certain types of personally identifiable information, to countries of concern.

This initiative is in response to the increasing risks posed by the sale of Americans’ data, which can lead to intrusive surveillance, scams, blackmail, and other privacy violations.

Commercial data brokers and companies have been identified as critical players in the legal sale and resale of this data, which can end up in the hands of foreign intelligence services, militaries, or government-controlled entities.

Exploiting such data poses significant privacy, counterintelligence, and national security risks, particularly for military personnel and those within the national security community.

Protecting Against Foreign Exploitation

To counter these threats, President Biden’s directive includes several critical measures:

  • The Department of Justice (DOJ) will issue regulations establishing explicit protections for Americans’ sensitive personal data from access and exploitation by countries of concern.
  • The DOJ will also enhance the protection of sensitive government-related data, including information on sensitive government sites and military members.
  • The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security will collaborate to set high-security standards to prevent access to Americans’ data through commercial means by countries concerned about Americans’ data.
  • Federal departments, including Health and Human Services, Defense, and Veterans Affairs, will ensure that federal grants, contracts, and awards do not facilitate access to Americans’ sensitive health data by countries of concern.
  • The Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the United States Telecommunications Services Sector will assess threats to Americans’ sensitive personal data in its reviews of submarine cable licenses.

These measures aim to protect Americans’ data, maintain the trusted free flow of data, and support the U.S.’s commitment to an open Internet with strong privacy protections.

Engaging Stakeholders and Encouraging Legislative Action

The administration engages with stakeholders, including technology companies, privacy advocates, and human rights organizations, to balance privacy, safety, competition, labor, and human rights objectives.

President Biden has also called on Congress to pass comprehensive bipartisan privacy legislation, particularly protecting children’s safety.

Senior administration officials have highlighted that the legal sale of sensitive data through data brokers reflects a gap in the U.S. national security toolkit.

The Executive Order aims to address this gap by banning transactions with data brokers known to transfer information to countries of concern and imposing restrictions on the transfer of various classes of data.

This initiative is part of a broader effort to protect American personal data from foreign threats, including legislative efforts to restrict federal agencies from contracting with certain Chinese companies.

The White House and the Justice Department’s new plan underscores the administration’s commitment to safeguarding personal data from exploitation by China, Russia, and other countries of concern.

In conclusion, President Biden’s Executive Order marks a significant step forward in protecting Americans’ sensitive personal data from foreign exploitation.

By implementing stringent regulations and engaging with various stakeholders, the U.S. aims to bolster national security, preserve privacy, and maintain its commitment to an open and secure digital environment.

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Author: Divya