Senators introduce bill to prevent border agency from selling personal data

Senators introduce bill to prevent border agency from selling personal data
© Greg Nash

A group of senators on Friday will introduce a bipartisan bill aimed at preventing Customs and Border Protection (CBP) from selling citizens' personal data, in an effort to reduce identity theft and credit card fraud.

The bill, sponsored by Sens. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesFallout from Kavanaugh confirmation felt in Washington one year later Conservatives offer stark warning to Trump, GOP on background checks The 23 Republicans who opposed Trump-backed budget deal MORE (R-Mont.) and Gary PetersGary Charles PetersOvernight Health Care — Presented by Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing — Planned Parenthood charges into 2020 | PhRMA CEO warns against Pelosi drug pricing bill | Medicaid work requirements costing states millions Bipartisan senators want federal plan for sharing more info on supply chain threats Planned Parenthood issues first wave of 2020 House, Senate endorsements MORE (D-Mich.), would close a legal loophole that allows CBP to sell certain personal information to third-party data brokers when they move overseas.

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The measure, which is being reintroduced in both chambers, would require CBP to remove personally identifiable information from any manifests produced when Americans move their belongings into or out of the country.

Those documents typically have personal information like residential addresses, Social Security numbers and passport numbers. The information is included when CBP releases certain shipment data, making the sensitive information publicly available.

This has led to some instances of identity theft and credit card fraud.

The bill, which was introduced in 2017 but stalled in the previous Congress, is aimed at safeguarding the personal information of Americans making international moves. It would amend the Tariff Act of 1930 to prevent the disclosure of personal information contained in manifests when CBP releases shipment data.

The measure is also backed by GOP Sens. John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenBottom Line Poll: McConnell is most unpopular senator McConnell ups pressure on White House to get a budget deal MORE (N.D.), James LankfordJames Paul LankfordMcConnell support for election security funds leaves Dems declaring victory Election security funds passed by Senate seen as welcome first step Senate committee approves 0 million for state election security efforts MORE (Okla.) and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanOvernight Defense: Trump hits Iranian central bank with sanctions | Trump meeting with Ukrainian leader at UN | Trump touts relationship with North Korea's Kim as 'best thing' for US Exclusive: Kushner tells GOP it needs to unify behind immigration plan Republicans grumble over Trump shifting military funds to wall MORE (Alaska).

“Montanans and the American people need assurance that their private information is safeguarded from all threats,” Daines said in a statement. “This commonsense legislation ensures transparency as well as security in protecting our citizens from identity theft and fraud.”