House Passes Bill To Ban Sale Of Personal Data To Foreign Adversaries

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill that would prohibit data brokers from transferring a broad array of personal information to foreign adversaries, or companies owned by foreign adversaries.

The Protecting Americans’ Data from Foreign Adversaries Act (H.R. 7520), introduced earlier this month by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Washington) and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-New Jersey), is one of two recent bills aimed at preventing China and other foreign adversaries from obtaining information about people in the United States.

The other, Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act (H.R. 7521) -- which was passed by the House last week -- would ban TikTok unless it's sold by the China-based ByteDance.



The Rodgers-Pallone bill generally defines data brokers as entities that sell or disclose personal information they didn't collect. That data covered by the proposed law includes government-issued identifiers (like social security numbers), geolocation information, biometric data, photos, messages, and information "identifying an individual’s online activities over time and across websites or online services."

Rodgers hailed the bill as a step toward a broader privacy law.

She called the legislation “an important complement to our ongoing efforts to establish a comprehensive data privacy standard -- one that cracks down on abuses of Americans' personal information by narrowing the information that's collected in the first place, and putting people back in control of their personal information.”

Rodgers was among the backers of the American Data Privacy and Protection Act, which would have imposed numerous restrictions on businesses -- including a prohibition on collecting or processing data about people's cross-site activity for ad purposes. That ban would have effectively prevented companies from serving ads to web users based on their browsing activity.

In 2022, the House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced the bipartisan bill by a vote of 53-2, but the full House didn't vote on the measure, and the Senate didn't hold hearings on it.


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