(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden will sign an executive order designed to prevent foreign entities from accessing troves of Americans’ personal data amid worries it could be exploited for commercial and military advantage, particularly by China and Russia. 

The new order, which will be issued on Wednesday, is intended to prevent “countries of concern” from obtaining large tranches of sensitive data involving people’s health, location, finances, and even voice or keyboard patterns. That information can be purchased or obtained from sources such as data brokers, third-party vendors and employers. 

The order authorizes US Attorney General Merrick Garland to issue new restrictions on transactions involving any bulk personal data that, if obtained, could threaten national security. The Biden administration said foreign adversaries and their intelligence operations are already using Americans’ data for surveillance, scams and blackmail.

In a media briefing on Tuesday, Biden administration officials said they were most acutely concerned about the exploitation of genetic information — known as genomic data. 

Bloomberg News first reported details of the executive order in January. 

The move is the latest in a series of actions targeting China’s ability to access and use advanced technologies like artificial intelligence computing chips, and is underpinned by worries that Chinese AI firms could train their models using Americans’ data. 

Washington has recently signaled that it favors some restrictions on cross-border data sharing, and officials last month unveiled a mandate for cloud service companies to flag when Chinese AI firms tap their data centers to train large-language models.

US intelligence agencies are concerned that adversaries could use AI to mine the data and build detailed profiles of specific people, including US government officials and military personnel, and threaten US commercial interests.

The administration’s new order also focuses on preventing data from being sold or transferred to countries such as Russia, North Korea, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela, according to a senior Justice Department official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity before the announcement.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said Thursday at a regular press briefing in Beijing that the accusation her nation bought Americans’ data for malicious reasons was false.

“The Chinese government takes data privacy very seriously,” she added.

The Biden administration said that it’s particularly concerned about the collection of data on political figures, journalists, academics, activists and members of marginalized communities, as well as patient data obtained through health-care providers and researchers. 

The US for years has expressed concern about Chinese companies including TikTok-owner ByteDance Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. accessing data on Americans, at one point trying to ban their social media services.

The White House National Security Council has been briefing outside advisers and companies on the executive order’s provisions since January, when Bloomberg first reported on the order, aiming to reassure them that it be narrowly targeted to avoid unnecessary economic impact.

Administration officials said Tuesday that the largest US technology companies will be subject to the new rules if they sell or transfer data to foreign entities, but the US does not aim to broadly regulate the way data is stored or transferred within a company.

--With assistance from Philip Glamann.

(Updates with comment from China’s Foreign Ministry,)

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