Illinois: Tell Legislators to Protect Your Privacy

If you live in Illinois, your state legislators are set to consider a critical new privacy law poised to protect residents from microphone surveillance. With smartphones a fact of life and smart home technology becoming ever more common, Illinois residents deserve to know that data-hungry corporations will be punished should they abuse this household technology. Bill SB 1719, the Keep Internet Devices Safe Act, will make it unlawful for companies to collect audio information using built-in device microphones without the knowledge and consent of the user.

This week, SB 1719 is expected to reach committee before the Illinois General Assembly. We need you to speak out now, and show your support for a bill that protects the privacy of Illinois citizens.

To register your support, please visit the Illinois General Assembly witness slip page for the bill. Fill out:

  1. Your personal details

  2. Who you represent. "Self" if you're just signing for yourself, otherwise the group you're speaking on behalf of.

  3. Select your position as a "Proponent" of the bill, and "Record of Appearance Only".

Together, we can help advance Illinois privacy protections!

Illinois SB 2149 and HB 2736: The Right to Know Act

Amidst the ever-growing data economy, we deserve to know how our data is used. Illinois legislators have the chance to make a positive impact with the Right to Know Act, which will help ensure that customers can stay informed how their personal information is collected by companies. First introduced through the collaborative efforts of Rep. Art Turner and Sen. Michael Hastings, and now with the support of Rep. Kambium Buckner, the Right to Know Act is comprised of Senate Bill 2149 and House Bill 2736. Under this new legislation, companies that collect personal information will be required to disclose to consumers what data they are collecting and sharing with third parties. The Right to Know Act is currently in committee. Should this legislation pass, Illinois residents will be empowered to make more informed choices about how they trade personal information for online services. We applaud this effort to enact a practical data privacy law which serves the needs of users, not just corporate interests.

More details on SB 2149 are available here. Details on HB 2736 are available here.

Illinois SB 1719: Keep Internet Devices Safe (KIDS) Act

A new data privacy bill is poised to protect Illinois residents from microphone surveillance. Legislators are currently considering Senate Bill 1719, the Keep Internet Devices Safe (KIDS) Act, which will make it unlawful for companies to use digital device microphones to collect information without explicit permission from the user. The KIDS Act further requires that any company which makes use of such data must maintain "reasonable security measures" to protect this personal information. With the modern proliferation of digital devices equipped with microphones, this legislation is both sensible and necessary to protect our personal privacy.

More details on SB 1719 are available here.

WGN 720's Justin Kaufmann on HB 3449

WGN 720's Justin Kaufmann on HB 3449

Last night on WGN Radio, Justin Kaufmann had Industry Outreach Director Matt Erickson on to discuss privacy issues across the United States and what Illinois was doing to protect their citizens in light of failing Federal protections

NPR Illinois: The Battle Over Transparency And Privacy In The Digital Age

NPR Illinois: The Battle Over Transparency And Privacy In The Digital Age

NPR's Daisy Contreras covers the fight for bringing the Right to Know and Geolocation Privacy Protection Acts into law in Illinois.

Tackling An Important Question: "Why do so many tech products seem to ignore the unique safety threats that women experience online?"

"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.

cc: Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation Social Change Tom Dart ACLU of Illinois Illinois PIRG Governor Bruce Rauner

Over 200 Million American Voters Data Leaked

Over 200 Million American Voters Data Leaked

The Intercept reports that personal data for nearly every American voter was exposed by a GOP data mining firm. Poor stewardship over gigantic databases of personal data is one of, if not the, key reason why Americans need more transparency for where their personal information winds up.

DPA Update: Internet Transparency Measure Clears Illinois Senate

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

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

NBC Investigates: Springfield Privacy Bills

NBC Chicago reporter Katie Kim spent some time with Outreach Director Matt Erickson and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart about the Illinois Right to Know Act and the Geolocation Information Privacy Act. The segment is a great introduction to the bills we're supporting in Illinois.

See it at

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DPA Outreach Director Matt Erickson on NBC Nightly News

Tonight on NBC Nightly News, DPA Outreach Director Matt Erickson was interviewed by Tom Costello for his take on the ongoing debate around FCC rules enacted last October prohibiting the sale of users' browsing data by internet service providers.

You can catch the video here:

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