On 14 November, Worldwide ERC®, the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA), International Association of Movers (IAM) and eight other organizations sent a letter to Senate leaders urging them to pass the Moving Americans Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 4403, S. 998) by the end of the year.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) presently sells the manifest data on vessel shipments to companies that post the information online to paid subscribers. The relocation overseas of a transferee can often require the shipping by vessel of personal goods. Making public the personally identifiable information of the transferee including military personnel exposes them to identity theft, fraud and unwanted solicitations. H.R. 4403 and S. 998 would correct the problem.
In addition to Worldwide ERC®, AMSA, and IAM, the Air Force Sergeants Association, American Foreign Service Association, Association of the United States Army, Association of the United States Navy, Fleet Reserve Association, National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Union and National Association of Realtors signed the letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY). While not a signatory, the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World also expressed its support for the effort.
Congressmen Jeff Denham (R-CA) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) introduced the Moving Americans Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 4403) which the U.S. House of Representatives passed by voice vote on 17 May of this year. H.R. 4403 is a companion bill to S. 998 introduced on 1 May 2017 by Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Gary Peters (D-MI).
Related: Worldwide ERC® Engages U.S. Congress on Transferee Data Privacy Bill
In order for Congress to pass H.R. 4403 before it adjourns at the end of this year, the Senate Finance Committee would need to waive its right to consider the bill and Senate leaders would need to move H.R. 4403 under unanimous consent or as part of a larger legislative vehicle. If Congress does not pass the bill this year, it will need to be reintroduced in the new Congress and passed again by both the Senate and House.
S. 998 and H.R. 4403 would amend the Tariff Act of 1930 to prevent the CBP from selling the PII of individuals who are shipping personal goods. While not the intent of the companies to post the sensitive data of individuals, the information reflects all of the data provided by the CBP including the personally identifiable information of transferees shipping household goods. The PII can include personal data such as Social Security numbers, home addresses and passport information. S. 998 and H.R. 4403 would direct the CBP Commissioner to remove personally identifiable information from vessel manifests before the manifests are sold and made public.
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