Customers’ personal data may be published on US website

It appears that the personal information of customers moving goods into the United States may be regularly published on publicly-accessible websites. This has been highlighted recently by a complaint made to a European moving company. The customer had shipped household goods from Europe and had complained that private information had been made public. To help prevent any challenge, origin moving companies may wish to make sure that they have clearly advised their customers that this is a possibility.

A statement from IAM (International Association of Movers) in June 2021, explained that the recently-passed US Competition and Innovation Act (USICA), included a key provision directing the US Secretary of the Treasury to ensure that any personally identifiable information (PII) (including social security and passport numbers), are removed from a vessel, aircraft, or vehicle manifest, before that manifest is provided for public disclosure. It said that regardless of whether a transferee is a US citizen or foreign national, the release of an individual’s PII puts them at significant risk for financial fraud and identity theft.

However, as the recent complaint shows, this practice appears to continue and movers are advised to make sure that their customers understand that there is a risk that their personal data may be published.

It is possible for a shipper to request that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) keeps their data confidential. Requests may be sent to: Vessel Manifest Confidentiality, Program Office 1354, CBP, 1801 N. Beauregard St., DHS, VA 20598-1354 or by email to: Confidentiality requests will be valid for two years from the date of the acknowledgement letter and cover all ports of entry. Renewal requests should be made at least 60-90 days prior to expiration of the current approval. There is no fee associated with the request for confidentiality.

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