November 06, 2023

Warren, Cassidy Call for Stricter Guardrails Following Report that Service Members’ Data is Carelessly Sold to Advertisers, Posing Major National Security Risk

Washington, D.C.  – United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) released the following statements after Duke University published a report highlighting the detail, ease, and volume at which data brokers are selling the personal data of U.S. service members to web addresses located both in the United States and abroad: 

“Data brokers are selling sensitive information about service members and their families for nickels without considering the serious national security risks,” said Senator Warren. “This report makes clear that we need real guardrails to protect the personal data of service members, veterans, and their families.”

“This report further solidifies the need to address this gaping hole in the protection of U.S. service members,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Our legislation defends the men and women in uniform from having their personal information sold to our enemies like China and Russia. We must act in the interest of national security and protect those who defend our nation.” 

Currently, lists of military personnel, as well as information on their addresses, political beliefs, and lifestyle choices, can legally be sold to adversaries like China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea, threatening our national security. 

Senator Warren has been leading efforts to protect service members’ data and privacy:

  • In March 2023, Senators Warren, Cassidy, and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) reintroduced the Protecting Military Service Members’ Data Act of 2023, a bipartisan bill that would protect the data of U.S. service members by preventing data brokers from selling lists of military personnel to adversarial nations including China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. They first introduced the bill in May 2022. 
  • In June 2022, Senators Warren, Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced the Health and Location Data Protection Act, legislation that bans data brokers from selling some of the most sensitive data available about everyday Americans: their health and location data.