According to Reuters, the Biden administration has drafted an executive order to empower the Department of Justice to block foreign opponents like China and Russia from accessing Americans’ data.
China’s BGI purchased U.S. genomic sequencing firm Complete Genomics in 2013, and in 2015, Chinese WuXi Pharma Tech acquired U.S. firm NextCODE Health, U.S. intelligence warned in a 2021 fact sheet.
Reuters released the news after seeing excerpts and contacting people familiar with the matter.
The draft order would give U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland the right to review and prevent commercial transactions if they cause undue risk to national security.
In addition, the draft order regulates the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to prevent federal funding from aiding U.S. health data transfer to foreign adversaries.
In 2020, former President Donald Trump tried to ban Beijing’s popular social media platforms, TikTok and Wechat, over concerns about data transfer.
However, the courts temporarily suspended the prohibitions, and President Biden finally repealed them. White House spokespeople in the Department of Justice and the Commerce Department declined a request for comment from Reuters.
Previously, U.S. intelligence has warned of the risks posed by Chinese companies acquiring U.S. residents’ data by investing in U.S. enterprises that handle sensitive healthcare information.