China Russia US

US Acts To Stop Sale Of Sensitive Personal Data To China, Russia

China Russia US

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday will sign an executive order aimed at better protecting Americans’ data from foreign adversaries like China and Russia.

The aim is to prevent the large-scale transfer of Americans’ personal data to what the White House calls ‘countries of concern’, and to do so without limiting legitimate commerce around data, senior Biden administration officials said on a call with reporters.

“Our intelligence community has made it clear that “our adversaries increasingly view data as a strategic resource,” a senior Biden administration official said on a call with reporters Tuesday evening.

The senior administration officials listed potential countries of concern as China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela.

“These countries are leveraging their access to Americans’ bulk sensitive personal data and government-related data to engage in a variety of nefarious activities, including malicious cyber-enabled activities, espionage and blackmail,” the official added.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement that the executive order would give the Justice Department “the authority to block countries that pose a threat to our national security from harvesting Americans’ most sensitive personal data”.

The order directs the Department of Justice to issue regulations that establish protections for Americans’ sensitive personal data, as well as sensitive government-related data, including geolocation information on sensitive government sites and members of the military.

The Justice Department also plans to work with Homeland Security officials to build safety standards to prevent foreign adversaries from collecting data.

It will further attempt better checks to ensure that federal grants going to various other agencies, including the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, aren’t used to facilitate Americans’ sensitive data flowing to foreign adversaries or US companies aligned with them.

Protected information will include genomic data, personal health data, geolocation data, financial data and certain personal identification data. Authorities said such information has been of high value for data brokers and cybercriminals, which enables them to blackmail individuals, surveil others, and create scams, among other privacy concerns.

“Companies are collecting more of Americans’ data than ever before, and it is often legally sold and resold through data brokers,” the White House informed.

The executive order announced Wednesday is part of a growing effort by the Biden administration to counter the use of US advances to undermine national security. US officials continue to focus on ways foreign adversaries use investments to give them access to American technology and data. (ANI)

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