US advances data privacy bill against foreign adversaries

The US House of Representatives passed a data privacy bill, the “Protecting Americans’ Data from Foreign Adversaries Act of 2024,” prohibiting data brokers from selling US citizens’ data to foreign adversary countries. The bill awaits Senate review before becoming law.

The US House of Representatives passed the data privacy bill aiming to protect US citizens from foreign adversaries. The bill named “Protecting Americans’ Data from Foreign Adversaries Act of 2024” prohibits data brokers from selling, transferring, or otherwise making available the personal data of US citizens to foreign adversary countries of any entity that a foreign adversary controls.

President Biden issued an executive order in late February 2024 aiming to enhance the sensitive data protection of US citizens and government officials from countries of concern. The White House warned that data sold or transferred by data brokers could end up in foreign military services, militaries, or other foreign government companies that could infringe on the USA’s national security. According to the bill, if there are violations, penalties will be imposed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The bill is now passed to the Senate for review, and if approved, the President would have 10 days to sign it and become law or veto it.

Why does it matter?

This move comes a week after the House of Representatives passed the bill ‘forcing’ TikTok to divest; otherwise, it would face a ban. As reported by the Verge, unlike the TikTok bill, the privacy legislation doesn’t specify companies or countries to data brokers to avoid selling data; instead, it imposes a broad restriction. Consequently, it’s argued that this bill could significantly raise data privacy standards, given the current low threshold.