back to article Congress votes unanimously to ban brokers selling American data to enemies

The US House of Representatives has passed a bill that would prohibit data brokers from selling Americans' data to foreign adversaries with an unusual degree of bipartisan support: It passed without a single opposing vote. The Protecting Americans' Data from Foreign Adversaries Act of 2024 was introduced in the house earlier …

  1. AustinTX

    Problem solved!

    But did they ban brokers -who deal with brokers who deal with the advisary countries-? Nope.

    They just drove the price of data up a bit, and probably drove business to their side hustles.

  2. anothercynic Silver badge

    Good luck...

    .... Good luck policing this. Or policing the brokers who sell data to brokers who sell the data to your enemies.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Good luck...

      Username checks out.

    2. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: Good luck...

      Good luck defining enemies too.

      The extremely wealthy people who make billions from their assets in China (just a random for-instance in this case) have different enemies to those of us who have to get up early every morning and shlep across town to work for a living.

      1. Sora2566 Bronze badge

        Re: Good luck...

        This bill specifies who the enemies are, though? "North Korea, Russia, China or Iran, or any company controlled by those countries".

        Though of course that means that the law will need to be updated if that list ever changes...

  3. stiine Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Not to split hairs, but every single one of them will just continue selling api access to the data itself.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    uniqueness

    I went down the rabbit hole trying to limit the amount of tracking on my phones and thought i was being clever by ditching Android and using an iPhone with no third party apps installed.

    I went further by disabling all cookies, turning JavaScript off and only browsed the internet in incognito mode and had the anti-fingerprinting option turned on for both trackers and websites and used the option that hides ny actual IP address.

    But to my horror i found out that my device could be easily determined out of a list of hundreds of thousands of other devices through browser fingerprinting.

    The more changes I made to try and limit fingerprinting the more unique my browser became because the average person doesn't mess with the default settings of their browser as I had done which made my fingerprint stand out from all the others.

    I tried to test my iPhone using the TOR browser which is said to have the best resitance to fingerprinting but I found out that they don't make a broswer for IOS and the ones on the Apple AppStore that use the official icons and branding are all fake!

    (pay close attention to the name of app developers so that you don't get tricked as I did)

    See how safe from tracking your browser is here:

    https://coveryourtracks.eff.org/

  5. croc

    Does 'enemy' get defined? Like, maybe your auto insurance company is your enemy....

    1. vtcodger Silver badge

      Not so hard I think

      What's so hard about defining "enemies"? As far as I'm concerned, ANYONE who sells data about me without my explicit permission is an enemy.

    2. Sora2566 Bronze badge

      Did you read the article? The bill specifies 'enemies' as "North Korea, Russia, China or Iran, or any company controlled by those countries".

  6. croc

    ...Or, just maybe, ban all tracking Who NEEDS 'personalized' ads, anyway?

  7. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Stop

    I've said it before and I'll say it again

    Stop collecting the data.

    It's none of your business.

  8. Danie

    What about non-Americans data?

    It would be far better to block the sale of ANY user data. If it is American companies collecting and selling user data, this is the chance for the USA to do the right thing globally, and not just think of itself. This is a problem all countries face, and they cannot enforce change within the USA borders.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: What about non-Americans data?

      I wish I could upvote this a 1000 times!!

  9. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    The future is Russia - if we're not careful

    Since the invasion of Ukraine in 2021, I've been looking at defence and security stuff more than I used to. And it's terrifying what an internet security disaster zone Russia has become. Obviously their government have not only tolerated, but actively used, hackers as a deniable, and cheap, asset. The Russian state has good cyber-warfare tools as well, but augmetns this by groups of criminals used by both FSB and GRU.

    The FSB in particular has got a very bad reputation for using links with criminals to get their official work done, but also for the FSB staff to personally enrich themselves. Both because they can get crimials to do stuff for them, or give them money, because they're supposed to be one of the main organisations fighting organised crime. It's one of the ways Putin managed to elevate himself to power - coming from teh St Petersburg mayors office and using his old FSB connections. That's where he started using the services of one Yevgeny Prigorzin, which ended rather unhappily last year.

    Obviously this has been useful to them. However it's also backfired. When the GRU poisoned the Skripals in Salisbury a few years ago (plus a policeman and very unlucky local woman) - their tradecraft had become so lazy that their agents were using sequential passport numbers. Bellingcat, and a couple of similar Russian organisations were able to trace those passport numbers to addresses, from leaked local government and phone company records. Which then allowed them to get the agents real names. If I remember correctly they also managed to link that to the guys ordering from the Moscow equivalent of Deliveroo/Just Eat - records that were also available on something like Pastebin. Which then got them a GRU office, where people had been ordering takeaways, and so cross-referencing that they got the names and credit card numbers of a bunch of other GRU agents and employees. This is just what amateurs and data journalists have done. Without much of their own data to start with.

    Our intelligence services could make massively more use of that, plus the stuff they know from whatever secret sources they've got. Although that requries the ability to cross-reference all the leaked data, which means allowing the techies access to your secret stuff in order to get the full benefit. Which has security risks of its own. At first it's probably only minor help, but the more information you get, the more you can cross-refence and the more that might reveal. I get the impression that GRU in particular have been so over-active and so lazy in security that vast numbers of their operatives are now known, and so much less useful to them.

    it's also interesting that Russia's intelligence agencies have had a lot of success against the West, particularly in Europe, in the last 20 years - partly because our politicians didn't want to go back to the Cold War - plus focus had been moved to islamist terrorism. But the intelligence war with Ukraine has gone pretty badly for Russia, since the full invasion. The war has flushed out a lot of their agents in Ukraine, or convinced them they hate Russia more than they liked the money or disliked their own government. And Ukraines GUR (military intelligence so equivalent of GRU) have had a lot of quite high profile successes. They're also willing to do stuff we'd never allow our intel agencies to do, but then we've not been invaded.

    The exception might be the SVR - Russian foreign intelligence. Used to be the elite 1st Directorate of the KGB, the bit Putin tried to join but wasn't enough of a high-flyer - so ended up in the 2nd Directorate, who spied on their own people, and later were turned into the FSB. SVR seem to have stayed more to the shadows and don't seem to have been doing high profile operations, or making high profile mistakes. At least not from the information I'm able to find. It's always hard to know what's true, and what's journalists getting all excited and believing all the cool spy stuff as well.

  10. nautica Silver badge
    Happy

    "Just be glad you're not getting all the government you're paying for."--Will Rogers

    Title: "Congress votes unanimously to ban brokers selling American data to enemies"

    Really? Has anyone checked to see if Congress has yet gotten around to making murder a crime?

    "Reader--consider yourself to be a member of Congress. Now, consider yourself to be a blithering idiot. But I repeat myself..."--Mark Twain; paraphrase.

  11. tyrfing

    Erg. Anything unanimously passed is unlikely to be good, or worth anything.

  12. Surreal
    Meh

    And the penalty for selling data to The Enemy? Since it's not mentioned, I expect it's an email reading: "Hey, we saw what you did. Please stop when it's convenient for you to do so."

  13. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Haven’t you realised yet? Be you retarded? Have you learning difficulties? Y’all be groomed/pwnd

    All of your information [PII] belongs to us ... whatever they may be imagined to be, for you certainly, if you be brutally honest with your many selves, really don’t presently know and most very likely, by Advanced IntelAIgent Design, are destined to never know and fated to be as conveniently treated as a useful/useless sacrificial pawn is to Grand Worshipful Masters of Multi-Dimensional World Chess whenever the game being played is more similar to the territorial advantage donated and enjoyed by the capture of stones in Go.

    And the future alien state of the human existence?

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