House passes bill that would bar data brokers from selling Americans’ personal information to ‘adversary’ countries

The House of Representatives a measure targeting data brokers’ ability to sell Americans’ personal data to “adversary” countries, like Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. The Protecting Americans’ Data from Foreign Adversaries Act passed with a unanimous 414 – 0 vote.

The , which was introduced alongside a measure that could force a ban or sale of TikTok, would prohibit data brokers from selling Americans’ “sensitive” data to people or entities in “adversary” countries. Much like a recent from President Joe Biden targeting data brokers, the bill specifically covers geolocation, financial, health, and biometric data, as well as other private information like text logs and phone call history.

If passed — the bill will need Senate approval before landing on Biden’s desk — it would represent a significant check on the relatively unregulated data broker industry. US officials have previously warned that China and other geopolitical rivals of the United States have already acquired vast troves of Americans’ information from brokers and privacy advocates have long urged lawmakers to regulate the multibillion-dollar industry.

The bill is the second major piece of bipartisan legislation to come out of the House Energy and Commerce this month. The committee previously introduced the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act,” which would require TikTok to divest itself from parent company ByteDance or face a ban in the US. In , Representatives Frank Pallone and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, said that the latest bill “builds” on their work to pass the measure targeting TikTok. “Today’s overwhelming vote sends a clear message that we will not allow our adversaries to undermine American national security and individual privacy by purchasing people’s personally identifiable sensitive information from data brokers,” they said.

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