At the end of last week, U.S. Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., brought out the “Moving American’s Privacy Protection Act.”
The bill will “require U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to remove personally identifiable information (PII), which includes Social Security and passport numbers, from cargo manifests before public disclosure.”
“The personal information of every American should be safe and secure,” said Waltz. “However, due to the current public disclosure of cargo manifests, our service members and their families experience a higher risk of identity theft and fraud as they move abroad. It is critical we take the necessary steps to protect them against dangerous and fraudulent activity. That’s why I am proud to introduce legislation in the House to secure international travel and help safeguard the livelihoods of Americans.”
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-NJ, is co-sponsoring the bill.
“In the modern world, protecting privacy is a difficult, constantly evolving challenge,” said Pascrell. “This is especially true for our brave servicemembers protecting America’s interests abroad who are increasingly victims of identity theft. This is a commonsense measure would protect Americans from accidentally having their own information end up in the wrong hands. I am proud to co-lead this bipartisan legislation designed to support our servicemembers and their families.”
Waltz’s office offered some of the reasons why the congressman introduced the bill.
“Currently, CBP requires manifest sheets, which includes PII, in order to disclose and document the cargo of incoming vessels for customs and security purposes. In 1984, the public disclosure of certain manifest information was required. The original intent of this provision was to increase competition, to facilitate better public analysis of import trends, and allow port authorities and transportation companies to more easily identify potential customers and changes in their industries. However, in recent years, PII of relocating individuals has been released, enabling identity theft, credit card fraud, and unwanted solicitations,” Waltz’s office noted.
The American Trucking Association is supporting the proposal.
“Americans shouldn’t be at increased risk of identity theft because they are returning home after an overseas military deployment or job posting,” said Ryan Bowley, the executive director of American Trucking Associations’ Moving and Storage Conference. “This legislation will address this long-standing problem by ensuring the government is not inadvertently enabling the sale of personal information to data brokers or those with ill intent. Americans trust movers to move the household goods, and we thank Congressman Waltz and Congressman Pascrell for working to protect the privacy and security of Americans’ personal data.”
The bill was sent to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee. U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., and U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., are championing the bill in the U.S. Senate. Daines introduced the Senate bill last week and the Senate passed it without opposition.
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