Cassidy requests U.S. companies detail foreign sales of Americans’ private data

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) this week formally requested that America’s major credit card companies and data brokers provide information on how they sell consumer information to China.

“Information sold by data brokers goes relatively unregulated in the United States,” wrote Sen. Cassidy in two separate letters, one sent to data brokers Acxiom, Nielsen, and Equifax; the other sent to American Express, MasterCard, Visa, and Discover.

“The possibility that actors with ill intentions can buy Americans’ data to engage in nefarious activities against the United States is concerning,” Sen. Cassidy wrote. “My interest lies in better understanding this possibility in an attempt to better protect the privacy of the American people.”

The senator told the companies that their help would provide him with clarity on several questions, including if the Chinese government or a Chinese state-sponsored company could have access to Americans’ data without purchasing it, and if such entities have done so in the past or are doing so currently.

Additionally, Sen. Cassidy asked the companies to explain how they restrict the re-sale of such information when they do sell Americans’ private data to China.

The lawmaker asked the companies to provide a reply to his questions within four weeks.