The Biden administration has reportedly drafted an executive order that will grant the US Department of Justice new powers to prevent what it calls “foreign adversaries” like China from accessing Americans’ personal data.

Iran Press/America: The Wednesday revelation was aired by Reuters, which cited a person familiar with the matter and excerpts they have seen of the drafted order.

In addition to technology, telecom, and app companies, the order would also focus on health care, directing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to prevent the transfer of data to foreign adversaries.

The order is part of a continuing stance of the last three presidential administrations that have taken on Chinese companies, ostensibly for national security reasons. In 2013, then-President Barack Obama banned government purchases of Chinese computer technology after accusations of hacking campaigns against US companies by Chinese entities. Beijing denied it had any involvement with the hacks.

Then in 2020, then-President Donald Trump attempted to ban popular Chinese-based apps TikTok and WeChat, but the courts halted the implementation of the ban, saying that Trump overstepped his authority in doing so.

This is the second executive order issued by Biden intended to protect Americans’ personal data from foreign adversaries. In June, the Biden administration issued “Executive Order on Protecting Americans’ Sensitive Data from Foreign Adversaries,” which ordered the US commerce secretary to evaluate threats posed by apps that collect personal data and send that to foreign adversaries.

However, agencies have yet to issue regulations related to that order or announce the results of any investigation - something that has frustrated the Biden administration, according to Reuters.

The alleged drafted order, which is subject to change after receiving input from other government agencies, would give US Attorney General Merrick Garland the authority to block any commercial transactions involving the sale of data if he determines they pose a risk to national security.

China has been buying US companies that handle health care data of US citizens, including a genomic sequencing firm in 2013. The new order will instruct the HHS to draft a rule that would “ensure that federal assistance, such as grants and awards, is not supporting the transfer of US persons’ health, health-related or biological entities owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries,” according to the excerpts seen by Reuters.

One issue with both executive orders is how personal data is sold.

Oftentimes it is packaged up and sold to data firms, who then sell it either in whole or part to other companies looking to utilize that data, often multiple times. Because of that, it can be difficult to predict where the personal data will end up once it is sold. That will make the secretary of commerce’s job difficult. Still, the executive order will task the department with determining which types of transactions are banned and which are exempt from the order.