Joe Biden Signs Executive Order Intended to Restrict Data Sales to ‘Countries of Concern’

U.S. President Joe Biden today signed an executive order, previously covered, which intends to limit the sale and distribution of Americans’ sensitive data to “countries of concern”:

To address this threat and to take further steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13873, the order authorizes the Attorney General, in coordination with the Secretary of Homeland Security and in consultation with the heads of relevant agencies, to issue, subject to public notice and comment, regulations to prohibit or otherwise restrict the large-scale transfer of Americans’ personal data to countries of concern and to provide safeguards around other activities that can give those countries access to sensitive data. […]

According to a fact sheet (PDF) from the U.S. Department of Justice, six countries are being considered for restrictions: “China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela”. The sensitive data which will be covered includes attributes like a person’s name, their location, and health and financial information.

This sounds great in theory, but it will be difficult to enforce in practice as data brokers operating outside the U.S. will not have the same restrictions. That is not to say it is useless. However, it is not as effective as creating conditions hostile to this kind of exploitation to begin with. You should not have to worry that your precise location is being shared with a data broker somewhere just because you checked the weather, nor should you need to be extremely diligent in reviewing the specific policies of each app or website you visit.

See Also: Dell Cameron, Wired.