Peters, Daines Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect the Privacy of Americans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced a bipartisan bill 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.

“Unfortunately, families and people, including servicemembers, moving from abroad to the United States face an increased risk of identity theft and the government needs to take more steps to protect them from fraud,” said Senator Peters. “I am proud to join Senator Daines in leading this commonsense, bipartisan legislation to help address this issue while working to safeguard Americans from threats to their livelihoods and to secure international trade and travel.”

“It’s simple. The private information of Montanans should be safe and secure,” Daines said. “We need to be ensuring all Montanans and Americans are protected against identity theft and fraud by increasing security and transparency.”

“We applaud Sen. Peters and Sen. Daines for their continued commitment of protecting our nations service members,” ATA Moving and Storage Conference Chairman Marc Rogers said. “As our industry is responsible for relocating service members safely around the world, we welcome this legislation that will protect their private information when it is time for them to move back home.”

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.