Joe Biden has banned the sale of Americans' personal data to Russia and China

by alex

The US President signed an executive order that prohibits the bulk sale of geolocation, genomic, financial and medical data of Americans to “countries of concern” – in particular Russia and China.

“Our current policies and laws leave vast amounts of Americans’ sensitive personal information open to the public,” a senior Biden administration official said during a briefing. “Buying data through brokers is now legal in the US—and it's a gap in our national security toolkit.”

As Engadget notes, researchers and privacy advocates have long warned of the national security risks posed by the largely unregulated, multibillion-dollar industry of data brokers. Last fall, researchers at Duke University reported that they were able to easily acquire troves of personal and health information about U.S. military personnel by posing as foreign agents.

Biden's order would address similar concerns—it would prohibit data brokers and other companies from directly or indirectly selling large amounts of Americans' personal information to countries or entities in Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela. There will likely be additional restrictions on companies' ability to sell data under cloud service contracts, investment agreements, and employment agreements.

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At the same time, the White House notes that the order will not slow down the massive sale of Americans’ data to other countries or companies that are not considered a threat to national security.

“President Biden is calling on Congress to pass comprehensive, bipartisan privacy legislation that is especially important to protect the safety of our children,” the White House said in a statement.

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