Biden to Issue Executive Order Targeting Protection of Americans’ Sensitive Data from China and Other ‘Hostile Countries’

Credits: CNN

President Joe Biden issued an executive order on Wednesday aimed at protecting the personal data of American citizens from countries deemed hostile.

The order focuses on safeguarding sensitive information, such as genomic data, biometric data, personal health data, geolocation data, financial data, and other personally identifiable information, from being collected and misused by data brokers and other commercial entities.

The Biden administration expressed concerns that data brokers could sell this information to countries with a track record of collecting and misusing data on Americans, citing national security risks.

Biden (Credits: NBC Connecticut)

The order aims to prevent hostile countries from using Americans’ data to track individuals, pry into their personal lives, and pass that data to foreign intelligence services. Specifically, the executive order directs the Department of Justice to issue regulations to protect sensitive data.

It also instructs the Department of Homeland Security and the DOJ to establish high-security standards to prevent access by countries concerned about Americans’ data through commercial means, such as data available via investment, vendor, and employment relationships.

Additionally, the order directs the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the United States Telecommunications Services Sector to consider threats to Americans’ sensitive personal data when reviewing submarine cable licenses.

The administration emphasized that these actions are consistent with the U.S.’s support for the trusted free flow of data and commitment to an open internet with strong protections for individuals’ privacy.

This executive order follows previous efforts by the Biden administration to improve cybersecurity, including an executive order aimed at enhancing the cybersecurity of U.S. ports.

Congress has also expressed concerns about the privacy risks posed by the data broker industry, with lawmakers requesting information from companies like Equifax and Oracle about their data collection and distribution methods.

The executive order is part of a broader effort to protect Americans’ personal data from misuse and enhance national security in the digital age.