Bulk Sensitive Personal Data

On February 28, 2024, the Biden administration announced the creation of a new national security regulatory regime that will prohibit or restrict certain transactions involving bulk sensitive US personal data or government-related data and specified “countries of concern.” The Biden administration announced the regime in a new executive order, Preventing Access to Americans’ Bulk Sensitive Personal Data and United States Government-Related Data by Countries of Concern (EO 14117), which was accompanied by an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) issued by the National Security Division (NSD) of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the component and agency with primary responsibility for implementing and enforcing the forthcoming regulations. The White House and DOJ also published fact sheets regarding the new regime.

Executive branch officials and members of Congress have long been concerned about the lack of a national security regulatory regime covering the transfer of sensitive US personal data to countries of concern, particularly China. As explained in EO 14117, such data has the potential to be used for a variety of nefarious purposes, including surveillance, extortion, and influence campaigns targeting US government employees and members of the US military, among others. The order highlights that such risks have become more acute due to the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) and its ability to analyze and manipulate data sets. Bulk sensitive personal data can also be used in the creation and refinement of AI models and other advanced technologies.

According to the White House, the EO is “the most significant executive action any President has ever taken to protect Americans’ data security.”

The public may submit comments on the ANPRM through April 19, 2024 and will likely have an additional opportunity to comment on the language contained in a proposed rule, once issued.

Although intended to be tailored in its scope, our initial assessment is that the new regulatory scheme, once fully implemented, will likely have a profound impact on a number of industries and entities around the world. At a minimum, it seems certain that regulatory compliance costs could be substantial, particularly on entities that have not previously focused on building out a risk-based compliance program in this or other related areas.Continue Reading Biden Administration to Implement New National Security Rules Targeting Personal Data