May 06, 2019

NAFCU-backed bill to protect servicemembers' privacy reintroduced

military memberSens. Steve Daines, R-Mont., and Gary Peters, D-Mich., have reintroduced NAFCU-supported legislation to help protect personal information of American servicemembers and foreign service personnel who move overseas.

"Protecting consumers from credit fraud and identify theft is of the utmost importance to credit unions," said NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler. "We thank Senators Steve Daines and Gary Peters for reintroducing this important legislation to prevent the exposure and theft of our nation's servicemembers', foreign service officers' and federal employees' personal information. We urge Congress to swiftly pass this bipartisan bill."

Currently, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) collects documentation and personally identifiable information (PII), such as Social Security numbers and passport data, on international moves into the United States in an effort to protect Americans from nefarious cargo and inbound shipments.

However, the CBP is allowed by congressional statute to sell this information to third-party data brokers to build statistical information on imports and exports. These manifests, when sold by CBP, may contain PII of individuals moving back to the United States. Most international household goods moves are for military deployments, foreign service assignments and government employees. This poses problems for American servicemembers and foreign service personnel, who represent a large portion of international relocations, as third-party data brokers have in some cases inadvertently released individuals' PII publicly, making them a target for identity thieves.

While there is an opt-out process, the process is not clear and is difficult to comply with. The NAFCU-supported legislation, the Moving Americans Privacy Act (S. 1302), directs the CBP to scrub any PII before it is sold, enhancing the safety of servicemembers, foreign service officers, and other federal employees.

NAFCU joined with other trade associations last year to support a previous version of the bill; a House version of the legislation (H.R. 4403) unanimously passed the chamber in April 2017.