In the second of a two blog series, Aires’ Quality Manager, Laura May Carmack, provides detailed information related to her work on Capitol Hill with the AMSA to protect your relocating employees’ interests.

As mentioned in last week’s blog post, I recently had the opportunity to participate in the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) Moving Day on Capitol Hill. This event involved AMSA members meeting with U.S. Senators and House members of Congress to discuss legislative proposals and bills affecting our industry. On September 6, I met with Pat Toomey and Bob Casey, U.S. senators from Pennsylvania, to discuss two important issues impacting the relocation industry. In this week’s blog, I’ll discuss the issues surrounding the U.S. Customs and Personally Identifiable Information.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requires manifest documents to be submitted at or before entry for shipments into the United States. By law, CBP is allowed to sell this information to third-party data brokers. The vast majority of this data is used for statistical purposes only, but it does include Personally Identifiable Information (PII), which can include:

  • Social security numbers
  • Passport information
  • License numbers
  • Addresses

Occasionally, this information becomes available online or is deliberately stolen for identity theft and credit card fraud. It can also contain inventory lists of all household goods items associated with the shipper’s address. While CBP offers a form that consumers can use to make information confidential, this process fails to protect PII in many cases.

Under the current process, the burden to protect PII falls on the transferee to apply for an exemption with US Customs. We seek to change that by asking Congress to automatically exempt release of PII for any shipment classified as “Used Household Goods and Personal Effects,” which is always associated with an individual.

Both CBP and AMSA believe a legislative solution is required, and we have urged the senators to support S. 998 – The Moving American Privacy Protection Act, which would add additional protections to those passing through customs.

AMSA and Aires will continue to fight for the legislation that is best for our industry and your employees. AMSA holds their event annually, and Aires will remain an active participant moving forward. As we continue to fight for you and legislation changes, we will provide updates to our valued clients. 

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