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 DainesHillicon Valley: Amazon's Alabama union fight — take two Senate Judiciary Committee to debate key antitrust bill Overnight Defense & National Security — No punishments in botched Kabul drone strike MORE (R-Mont.) and Gary PetersGary PetersDemocrats make final plea for voting rights ahead of filibuster showdown Michigan Republican John James 'strongly considering' House run Officials point to Apache vulnerability in urging passage of cyber incident reporting bill 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 HoevenThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Senate Republicans call on Biden to lift vaccine mandate for truckers crossing Canadian border Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Native solar startups see business as activism MORE (N.D.), James LankfordJames Paul LankfordThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Rubio blocks quick votes on stalemated defense bill Constant threats to government funding fail the American public MORE (Okla.) and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanSenate confirms Rahm Emanuel to be ambassador to Japan GOP resistance to Biden FCC nominee could endanger board's Democratic majority Man charged with threatening Alaska senators pleads not guilty 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.”