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U.S. Congress Engaged on Transferee Data Privacy

Tristan North - Sep 24 2018
Published in: Public Policy

Worldwide ERC® has long-supported efforts by the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) and International Association of Movers (IAM) to protect the personally identifiable information (PII) of transferees who ship household goods through U.S. ports.

Due to the importance of this issue for our members and the employees they help relocate, Worldwide ERC® will now be directly engaging Congress to act to protect the information.

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. 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.

Related: GDPR Impact: 3 Months After Enforcement Date

How This Impacts Mobility

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 exposes them to identity theft, fraud and unwanted solicitations.

To correct this problem, 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 2018. 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).

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. Specifically, it would direct the CBP Commissioner to remove personally identifiable information from vessel manifests before the manifests are sold and made public.

Related: California Adopts New Consumer Data Privacy Law

Worldwide ERC® will be sending letters of support on H.R. 4403 and S. 998 and doing meetings with key congressional offices to join with AMSA and the IAM in pressing Congress to act on the legislation by the end of the year. We will keep you updated on our efforts.