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 DainesBullock drops White House bid, won't run for Senate Senate approves stopgap bill to prevent shutdown Perry replacement moves closer to confirmation despite questions on Ukraine MORE (R-Mont.) and Gary PetersGary Charles PetersTrump to hold campaign rally in Michigan Senators sound alarm on dangers of ransomware attacks after briefing GOP set for all-out battle over Michigan Senate seat 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 The Hill's Morning Report — Schiff: Clear evidence of a quid pro quo Trump steps up GOP charm offensive as impeachment looms MORE (N.D.), James LankfordJames Paul LankfordTrump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans Israeli, Palestinian business leaders seek Trump boost for investment project The Hill's Morning Report — Schiff: Clear evidence of a quid pro quo MORE (Okla.) and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanSenators inch forward on federal privacy bill Romney, Collins, Murkowski only Senate GOP holdouts on Graham's impeachment resolution GOP worries it's losing impeachment fight 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.”