Policy

New bill would require export licenses for some sensitive data

Ron Wyden

Sen. Ron Wyden has introduced a draft bill requiring export licenses for some sensitive data.

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A draft bill from Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden would require companies exporting certain sensitive data to obtain export licenses if sending the information to countries with poor records on user privacy, spying and other measures.


Wyden, a Democrat who is known for sometimes lonely opposition to many forms of government surveillance, specifically cited Chinese efforts to obtain personal data in his announcement of the bill. He pointed to "vast troves" of data on cell phone use, credit card purchases and more widely available for sale, but said the bill would also apply to many other data transfers.

Federal agencies would determine which granular categories of personal information would be subject to licensing and and which importing countries would require licenses according to the draft text, which was released Thursday. Wyden said the effort would build on existing U.S. law that limits the sale of companies holding sensitive data and other technologies to certain foreign buyers.

Tech companies, some of which send data all around the world in the course of business, have opposed data localization requirements, even as the U.S. and other countries seek to limit what they see as hostile actors' access to information on citizens.

The Trump administration, for instance, sought to block access to popular app TikTok over concerns about China's access to its parent company's data.

Fintech

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Tomio Geron

Tomio Geron ( @tomiogeron) is a San Francisco-based reporter covering fintech. He was previously a reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal, covering venture capital and startups. Before that, he worked as a staff writer at Forbes, covering social media and venture capital, and also edited the Midas List of top tech investors. He has also worked at newspapers covering crime, courts, health and other topics. He can be reached at tgeron@protocol.com or tgeron@protonmail.com.

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Great products are built on strong patents

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From 5G to artificial intelligence, IP protection offers a powerful incentive for researchers to create ground-breaking products, and governmental leaders say its protection is an essential part of maintaining US technology leadership. To quote Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo: "intellectual property protection is vital for American innovation and entrepreneurship.”

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How I decided to go all-in on a federal contract — before assignment

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Code for America CEO Amanda Renteria explained how it's helped people claim the Child Tax Credit.

Photo: Code for America

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After the American Rescue Plan Act passed in March 2021, the U.S. government expanded child tax credits to provide relief for American families during the pandemic. The legislation allowed some families to nearly double their tax benefits per child, which was especially critical for low-income families, who disproportionately bore the financial brunt of the pandemic.

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Hirsh Chitkara ( @HirshChitkara) is a reporter at Protocol focused on the intersection of politics, technology and society. Before joining Protocol, he helped write a daily newsletter at Insider that covered all things Big Tech. He's based in New York and can be reached at hchitkara@protocol.com.

Climate

This carbon capture startup wants to clean up the worst polluters

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Michelle Ma (@himichellema) is a reporter at Protocol covering climate. Previously, she was a news editor of live journalism and special coverage for The Wall Street Journal. Prior to that, she worked as a staff writer at Wirecutter. She can be reached at mma@protocol.com.

Workplace

Why companies cut staff after raising millions

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“Bolt employees were blind sided because the CEO was saying just weeks ago how everything is fine,” an anonymous user wrote on the message board Blind. “It has been an extremely rough day for 1/3 of Bolt employees,” another user posted. “Sadly, I was one of them who was let go after getting a pay-raise just a couple of weeks ago.”

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Nat Rubio-Licht

Nat Rubio-Licht is a Los Angeles-based news writer at Protocol. They graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in newspaper and online journalism in May 2020. Prior to joining the team, they worked at the Los Angeles Business Journal as a technology and aerospace reporter.

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