EPIC Statement on Biden Executive Order on Sensitive Personal Data Exports

February 28, 2024

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration issued an Executive Order seeking to protect Americans’ sensitive personal data by preventing the large-scale transfer of that data to “countries of concern” and creating other safeguards for these countries’ access to that data in other circumstances. Recognizing the threat that unregulated data collection and commercial data brokers pose to Americans’ rights, the Executive Order protects sensitive information “including genomic data, biometric data, personal health data, geolocation data, financial data, and certain kinds of personally identifiable information” from large-scale transfer to “countries of concern.”

Jeramie Scott, Senior Counsel and Director of EPIC’s Project on Surveillance Oversight:

“The sale of Americans’ sensitive personal data should be banned outright. The sale of sensitive personal data is harmful whether the purchaser is a foreign adversary, U.S. law enforcement agency, or a marketing company. EPIC appreciates the Biden Administration’s recognition that there are huge risks when data brokers sell Americans’ personal data on the open market, but the Administration should support prohibiting this practice no matter the purchaser.”

EPIC has explained the threat commercial surveillance poses to privacy and civil rights, including abortion access and reproductive privacy. EPIC has called on agencies to regulate data brokers and require data controllers to delete sensitive information like location information. EPIC—along with a coalition of over 100 civil society organizations—has also called for the passage of legislation to close the data broker loophole as part of any reauthorization of FISA Section 702.

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