Illinois Governor sells out privacy of Illinois citizens by vetoing historic privacy legislation.
Last night, NBC's Katie Kim did an extraordinary segment on Illinois House Bill 3449 - the Geolocation Privacy Protection Act. The piece featured our very own Board of Director Peter Hanna and our Industry Outreach Director Matthew Erickson explaining why such basic transparency is needed to protect ourselves and our families. “Geolocation data is in some ways the holy grail of personal data,” said Peter Hanna, co-founder of the Digital Privacy Alliance and a data privacy attorney. “Where we are, where we go – it’s among the most intimately private information about our day-to-day lives.” In fact, just this past July the FBI issued a warning to parents telling them that Internet connected devices pose dangers to our children's privacy and physical safety.
The corporate giants who oppose the bill conveniently say that it does not provide additional protections - yet, they could not be more wrong. Current law does not require mobile applications to get consent before tracking and selling your location information. In fact, companies regularly collect such information without your knowledge, as evidenced by a report showing that the popular app AccuWeather could collect location information even when location sharing was off.
Fortunately, the Illinois Legislature understood that this bill remedies a public safety issue of the highest order and passed it with bipartisan support. As concerned parent Andre Delattre puts it, "It’s just a basic right to know issue. If someone is going to collect and store information about me or my daughter or both of us, then the very least I ought to be afforded is to know that that’s the case.”
This is a must watch.
"Why do so many tech products seem to ignore the unique safety threats that women experience online?"
Great question. This article provides some insight as to why the tech industry isn't thinking about the consequences of their actions and why the Geolocation Privacy Protection Act sponsored by Ann M. Williams - State Representative and Senator Tom Cullerton is so timely and important.
We have incredible news to share: The ILLINOIS GEOLOCATION PRIVACY PROTECTION ACT HAS OFFICIALLY PASSED BOTH HOUSES and will soon be sent to Governor Rauner's desk.
We want to thank chief sponsor Ann M. Williams - State Representative for her hard work and amazing advocacy. Her closing remarks during today's floor debate were especially compelling:
“Internet security is a huge industry with a lot of issues we can’t possibly solve in a day. This legislation just scratches the surface but it does let people know we’re going to do what we can to keep them safe. This is common sense legislation that simply requires companies to let you know before using and sharing the geolocation data they collect when tracking your whereabouts. We believe people have a right to know who has their information and how they plan to use it.”
We also want to thank Senator Tom Cullerton for championing this important bill through the Illinois Senate, and all of the civil rights, advocacy groups, and TECH COMPANIES that supported this bill and contributed mightily to its passage, including ACLU of Illinois, Illinois PIRG, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, Center for Democracy & Technology, Social Change, Indivisible Illinois, Westside Justice Center, Cook County Sheriff's Office (Official), Illinois Attorney General, SpiderOak, Datamade, Data Foundry, Chicago Cityscape, Open Tech Strategies. We couldn't have done this without you. Thank you.
But no time celebrate. It's time to begin educating Governor Rauner and his staff about all the reasons why this bill is absolutely imperative to protect the public, restore online privacy and trust, foster competition, and level the playing field so that our technology companies in Illinois can compete with the behemoths in Silicon Valley. Take a look at the Illinois tech community's open letter urging Governor Rauner to sign the bill for these very reasons.
Major update out of Springfield. The Illinois Geolocation Privacy Protection Act just passed out of committee on concurrence, meaning that the members have approved the amendments (which were minor) that were made by the Senate. The bill is now headed for a full floor vote in the House. If a majority of the House votes to approve the amendments, the bill would go straight to Governor Rauner's desk.
Thank you to Ann M. Williams - State Representative for her incredible testimony this morning, and thank you to Senator Tom Cullerton, ACLU of Illinois, Illinois PIRG, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, Center for Democracy & Technology, Todd Belcore, and Social Change for your continued support and advocacy. We still have a long way to go but this is a very big step.
We are receiving many phone calls and emails from folks asking us how they can help. Here's the answer: Call your Representative and tell them to Vote Yes on House Bill 3449. These phone calls really do make a difference. You can use the tool below to identify and contact your Representative.
We'll post updates as they become available.
Recently Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart was on The Chicago Way with John Kass on WGN. He talks about recent successes regarding the Cook County Jail system, and goes into detail regarding the Right to Know Act about halfway through. Give it a listen!
Attention everyone! The landmark Geolocation Privacy Protection Act (HB 3449) is being heard in the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow morning at 10:30AM. This bill recently passed the Illinois House of Representatives:
The Geolocation Privacy Protection Act requires companies that store or share your precise location data to get your opt-in consent first before storing or sharing it. This is important and different than the opt-in your phone has to give apps access to the GPS on the phone. You may want to enable a mapping app to use your location to know where you are, or a news app to be able to give you relevant data for your city, but you may also want to know and have a say in if your data is then sold off to third parties. Real dangers can happen with unrestricted use of one's geolocation data, including but not limited to systematic racial discrimination, using where you call home as a signifier of race.
The Illinois General Assembly has a system of being able to file witness slips in support of bills like this, and legislators pay close attention to them. All of the slips will be entered into the record by the committee on Tuesday before the hearing. High slip counts are critical to passing important legislation that the powerful internet tech lobbies oppose. If you support this kind of common sense privacy, please fill out a slip!
To file a witness slip, fill out your name and address, “self” for who you’re representing if not witnessing for an organization directly, select that you’re a proponent of the bill, and select “Record of Appearance Only” for type of testimony.
File a witness slip for the Geolocation Privacy Protection Bill here!
DPA Update: Internet Transparency Measure Clears Illinois Senate
Chicago, Ill., May 10, 2017 – The Illinois Senate took a monumental step for consumer privacy protections last week when it passed Senate Bill 1502, the Right to Know Act.
Backed by the unwavering support of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and sponsored by Senator Michael Hastings, the Right to Know Act provides consumers with a “right to know” what personal information websites and apps are collecting from their cell phones and computers, and with whom they are sharing it. A companion bill sponsored by Representative Art Turner has already passed out of committee in the House.
The Right to Know Act does not require companies to change their business practices in any way. It simply adds a measure of transparency that would allow consumers to make informed decisions about which websites and apps they do business with.
As internet privacy protections continue to unravel at the federal level, private citizens have increasingly expressed disdain for the secret data collection and disclosure policies of some internet companies and are demanding transparency. Last month the Digital Privacy Alliance commissioned a statewide survey that revealed more than 94% of Illinois registered voters disapprove of “corporations collecting, sharing, or selling” their personal information without their knowledge, while 80% said that if provided the opportunity they would request to know the names of the third parties with whom their personal information is shared and sold. Tellingly, more than 1,200 Illinois citizens, technologists, and tech companies have filed witness slips in support of the Right to Know Act.
The opposition – namely a number of multibillion-dollar tech companies based out of state – has chosen a rather ironic strategy to counter the overwhelming public support for this transparency bill: spread misinformation by telling lawmakers the bill would stifle innovation and scare tech companies away from Illinois. The groups making these far-fetched claims haven’t offered a shred of evidence to back up their thesis and haven’t bothered to consult with the companies at the epicenter of Illinois’ burgeoning tech scene.
As one Senator announced during last week’s floor debate, “Every technology company that I’ve spoken to, from Microsoft down to Uber and Lyft...are opposed to this bill.” Of course they are. These companies do not reflect the views of Illinois’ tech industry or small businesses, and certainly are not out to protect their interests.
This tension was highlighted in a recent op-ed by Derek Eder published in Crain's Chicago Business. Eder, founder of Chicago-based tech company DataMade, longtime member of startup hub 1871, and organizer of Chi Hack Night, makes the case for the Right to Know law. He concludes the piece by stating that “enhancing consumers’ privacy by making data collection practices more transparent will not hamper the ability for small businesses and tech startups in Illinois to thrive – in fact, it will do just the opposite.”
As the Right to Know Act now moves its way through the Illinois House of Representatives, it is the DPA’s hope that legislators on both sides of the aisle will continue to put their constituents’ interests over those of the out-of-state internet companies that want to continue collecting and selling personal data behind the backs of Illinois consumers.
For more information about the DPA and how to get involved, contact Industry Outreach Director Matt Erickson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Digital Privacy Alliance
The Digital Privacy Alliance is a coalition of technologists, startups, computer engineers, developers, activists, lawyers, and civic hackers that fight for internet privacy legislation in statehouses across the country. Our members help policymakers learn about new and emerging technologies, testify before legislative bodies, and advocate for laws that promote transparency on the internet. For more information visit https://digitalprivacyalliance.org/.
Senate Bill 1502, sponsored by Senator Michael Hastings, is up for a Senate Chamber vote tomorrow and needs all the support it can get. To get this bill over the finish line, we would ask that you call these Senators and ask them to support the Senate Bill 1502, Right to Know Act. Starting at 8:30PM please call these Senators at their Springfield offices:
Senator Steven M. Landek - (217) 782-0054
Senator Tony Munoz - (217) 782-9415
Senator Napoleon Harris - (217) 782-8066
Senator Martin Sandoval - (217) 782-5304
Senator Toi Hutchinson - (217) 782-7419
Senator Terry Link - (217) 782-8181
Today, the Illinois House Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, and IT Committee will vote on two incredibly important internet privacy bills:
The first bill, the Right to Know Act (HB 2774), provides you with visibility into to what data internet companies are collecting from you and who they are selling it to. The second bill, the Geolocation Privacy Protection Act (HB 3449), requires internet companies and apps to ask you for permission before collecting location data from your phone and selling it to others.
While these bills are simple and straightforward (they just require internet companies and apps to be transparent with consumers about the data they collect and sell), the bills are absolutely necessary to protect our constitutional right to privacy.
Your personal data is collected every time you go online or use an app on your phone. But what personal data is being collected and where does it go? These proposed privacy laws will give us the power to control our personal data and learn which internet companies are selling our highly sensitive personal information. Today, your data can power raids by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Irresponsible companies have accidentally leaked sensitive data for over one billion people. Tech companies have shown no responsibility in safeguarding your data online, which is why we must stand together in the statehouse for these protections.
The Illinois General Assembly has a system of being able to file witness slips in support of proposed laws like these, and legislators pay close attention to them. All of the slips will be entered into the record by the committee on Wednesday before the hearing. High slip counts are critical to passing important legislation that the powerful internet tech lobbies oppose. If you support this kind of common sense privacy, please fill out slips for both bills.
To file a witness slip, fill out your name and address, “self” for who you’re representing, select that you’re a proponent of the bill, select the latest amendments on each (HFA5 for HB 2774, and HFA 2 for HB 3449), and select “Record of Appearance Only” for type of testimony.