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 DainesMore Republicans should support crisis aid for the Postal Service Senate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Finger-pointing, gridlock spark frustration in Senate MORE (R-Mont.) and Gary PetersGary Charles PetersHealth care group launches M ad campaign hitting Trump in battleground states The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump wants schools to reopen, challenged on 'harmless' COVID-19 remark Senate outlook slides for GOP 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 HoevenBipartisan senators seek funding for pork producers forced to euthanize livestock House Republicans threaten pushback on Saudi Arabia amid oil market slump Overnight Energy: Trump rollback of Obama mileage standards faces court challenges | Court strikes down EPA suspension of Obama greenhouse gas rule | Trump floats cutting domestic oil production MORE (N.D.), James LankfordJames Paul LankfordSenate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Tulsa to resume search for race massacre mass graves next week GOP senators debate replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federal holiday MORE (Okla.) and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanBottom line US security starts in the Arctic Senate confirms nation's first African American service chief 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.”