Waltz, Pascrell Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect Privacy of Americans
Washington, March 10, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday, U.S. Congressmen Mike Waltz (FL-06) and Bill Pascrell (NJ-9) introduced the bipartisan Moving American's Privacy Protection Act to 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.
Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) introduced and passed companion legislation in the Senate.
“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.”
“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.”
“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, 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.”
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.