Decoding Biden's Executive Order: Implications for Businesses in the Sensitive Data Market

By Morgan Sullivan

Senior Content Marketing Manager

February 29, 20244 min read

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What's happening?

On Wednesday, February 28, President Biden issued an Executive Order (EO) regarding the sale of Americans’ sensitive data.

Focused on improving the nation's cybersecurity posture and protecting data for military and national security personnel, dissidents, and journalists, this order has sparked a flurry of discussion and anticipation among businesses operating in this domain. With the stroke of a pen, the administration aims to reshape the landscape of data commerce, emphasizing transparency, accountability, and consumer rights. 

A response to the growing number of cyberattacks targeting sensitive personal information, which poses a significant threat to national security, this executive action may have significant implications for businesses involved in the collection, storage, and sale of sensitive data.

Why it matters

President Biden's Executive Order is aimed at preventing the exploitation of Americans' sensitive personal data by adversarial nations, and has been hailed by some as the most significant executive action ever taken to fortify Americans' data security.

The order focuses on protecting Americans’ most personal and sensitive information, including genomic data, biometric data, personal health data, geolocation data, personal financial data, and specific types of personally identifiable information. 

By safeguarding this data, the administration aims to thwart malicious actors who could use it for intrusive surveillance, scams, blackmail, and other privacy violations.

Main takeaway

The most significant aspect of the EO is that it compels the Department of Justice (DOJ) to issue new regulations prohibiting the sale of sensitive personal data to “countries of concern.” Though not yet final, experts believe this list will include China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela.

While the specifics are yet to be determined, the DOJ will seek input through an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), ensuring transparency and stakeholder engagement.

Key directives

Here's a breakdown of the key directives outlined in the Executive Order:

  • Clear protections: The Department of Justice will establish regulations to protect Americans' sensitive personal data from access and exploitation by countries of concern, ensuring it doesn't end up in the wrong hands.
  • Enhanced protection for government data: Regulations will be put in place to provide greater protection for sensitive government-related data, including information about military members and geolocation data on sensitive government sites.
  • High security standards: The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security will collaborate to set high-security standards to prevent access by countries of concern to Americans' data through commercial means like investment, vendor, and employment relationships.
  • Ensuring federal grants and contracts aren't misused: Efforts will be made to ensure that Federal grants, contracts, and awards don't facilitate access to Americans' sensitive health data by countries of concern.
  • Telecommunications sector review: The Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the United States Telecommunications Services Sector will consider threats to Americans' sensitive personal data in its reviews of submarine cable licenses.

How Transcend can help

In light of President Biden’s Executive Order, businesses will face the critical task of navigating these new data protection regulations. Deploying a modern, all-in-one privacy solution with tools for data intelligence, discovery, and classification will prove essential for companies looking to stay compliant ahead of regulatory shifts. 

By automating the process of data discovery and mapping, Transcend enables businesses to quickly identify where sensitive personal data is stored across their digital landscape. This comprehensive overview ensures that companies can adapt their data protection strategies to meet the latest regulatory requirements, while offering better safeguards against unauthorized access to ensure the security of Americans' sensitive data. 

With Transcend’s innovative technology, businesses can not only meet current compliance standards but also anticipate and prepare for future regulatory changes, maintaining the trust of their customers and avoiding potential penalties.

What's next?

These actions underscore the U.S.'s commitment to the trusted free flow of data, while prioritizing individuals' privacy and preserving governments' abilities to enforce laws and advance policies in the public interest.

President Biden has also urged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to take steps to protect Americans from data brokers illegally assembling and selling extremely sensitive data, including that of U.S. military personnel.

Additionally, the President continues to call on Congress to pass comprehensive bipartisan privacy legislation, especially to protect the safety of our children.

Final thoughts

This Executive Order reflects a significant move towards ensuring data security and protecting the privacy of all Americans. As the administration continues to engage with stakeholders, including technology companies and privacy advocates, we're committed to keeping you updated on further developments.

Stay tuned for more updates and let's continue working towards a safer, more secure digital future.

Discover Transcend's data mapping solutions

Transcend's suite of next-generation data mapping solutions gives your organization the visibility you need to transform data governance initiatives, power strategic decision making, and ensure a robust compliance stance.

  • Transcend Data Inventory to gain a single source of truth of all personal data moving through your organization. Get powerful 360-degree visibility that powers seamless real-time privacy operations.
  • Transcend Data Lineage allows you to easily track the flow of personal data across your data ecosystem, for greater control and confidence.
  • Transcend Silo Discovery to transform how your company discovers where their personal data is stored. It's the easiest way to uncover and catalog systems—no manual work required.
  • Transcend Structured Discovery to identify and classify data down to the datapoint level, all without manual work or traditional heavy deployments.
  • Transcend Unstructured Discovery to automatically find and govern previously ungovernable data, for complete compliance.

Transcend Data Inventory provides your foundation for base truth, and can be used in tandem with any combination of discovery solutions. Reach out to learn more.

By Morgan Sullivan

Senior Content Marketing Manager

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