Privacy

  • tc 052617SPRINGFIELD- As the federal government continues to allow big data to sell your information, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is working to protect Illinoisans from private entities sharing their location information that can be transmitted by cell phones, tablets and computers.

    “Illinois residents deserve to know who has access to their personal information,” Cullerton said. “Geolocation tracking can tell companies where you buy your morning coffee or what bus stops your son or daughter jump on after school. This is private information. You should be able to control who has access to it.”

    House Bill 3449 measure known as the Geolocation Privacy Protection Act, would require companies that store or share your precise location data to receive opt-in consent from Illinois residents before selling or sharing it. 

    “Illinois residents may opt-in to use the GPS app on their phones or tablets but they should have a say on when their data is being sold,” Cullerton said. “It is simple. The price of using a map on your phone shouldn’t mean you are automatically giving some unknown entity the ability to sell your information.”

    Cullerton believes it is a simple task for an app developer to ask consumers if they are privy to access their geolocation information. This is something that can be simply incorporated into the design and function of an application.

    Currently Delaware, California and Nevada have similar laws in place.

    House Bill 3449 passed the Senate on a 33-22 vote and now moves back to the House for further debate. 

  • manar 042617SPRINGFIELD – A controversial plan before Congress that would permit companies to fine workers who refuse to share their genetic information through workplace wellness programs has prompted Illinois lawmakers to tighten up a state law protecting workers from such repercussions.

    “We’re seeing changes proposed at the federal level that are concerning to me and to others,” said Senator Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and sponsor of Senate Bill 318. “The goal here is only to protect the genetic information of individuals when that information might be used against them in the employee-employer relationship.”

    The legislation advanced out of the Senate Labor Committee Wednesday. It was prompted by news that Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, a Republican from North Carolina, in March proposed the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (HR1313).

    Supporters said the measure would enable employers to have the “legal certainty” to promote good health while lowering health care costs. However, critics said it would allow employers to pressure workers to share their private genetic information by rewarding them with lower health insurance costs, while penalizing those who choose not to disclose such details.

    The Winston-Salem Journal, Foxx’s hometown newspaper, called the measure an example of “big government run amok,” in an editorial urging Congress to kill it.

    Under Illinois’ Genetic Information Privacy Act, employers must handle genetic testing consistent with the federal laws. It prevents employers from requiring genetic testing as a condition of employment, from changing terms of employment as a result of genetic information, or from classifying employees based on genetic testing. Further, it says testing done in the context of a workplace wellness program is available to employers only in aggregate form, not on an individual basis.

    Manar’s proposed update to the law would bar employers from penalizing workers who choose not to disclose their genetic information or do not participate in a program that requires disclosure of their genetic information.

    “I think we have a strong law in Illinois, but I don’t think it’s very strong about barring employers from penalizing employees,” he said.

  • hastings 031517SPRINGFIELD- Illinois residents may soon be able to request to know what personal data is being stored by commercial websites.

    State Senator Michael E. Hastings advanced Senate Bill 1502, the Right to Know Act, to protect Illinois residents’ privacy.

    “The price of surfing the web shouldn’t mean sacrificing your privacy and personal information,” Hastings said. “Every time someone simply engages on a website from the comfort of their home, commercial websites could possibly be storing and sharing this data.”

    Current Illinois law requires businesses that collect personal informational to implement security measures to notify customers of security breaches. However, commercial websites are not required to notify residents what data they collect or whom they share that data with.

    “This is your personal information,” Hastings said. “You should know who is storing your records and who has access to it.”

    This new initiative would require commercial Internet websites that collect personal information to notify customers of the information they have collected as well as any third parties with whom they may have disclosed personal information with.

    “Cybersecurity is a big deal,” Hastings said. “It’s important for Illinois’ laws to update and evolve with the needs of the people. This is a small step to protect Illinois residents’ privacy and security.”

    Senate Bill 1502 passed the Senate’s Judiciary Committee and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

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  • hastings 041216SPRINGFIELD—Senator Michael Hastings (D-Tinley Park) passed legislation that would protect private information of K-12 students throughout Illinois.

    Senate Bill 229 would establish the Student Online Personal Protection Act. The legislation would prohibit the operator of a website or online service from using student data for anything that is not furthering the mission of the K-12 institution.

    “Student data that was entrusted with companies should not be abused,” Hastings said. “Companies should not be using information they received for educational purposes to then try and make money off the students or their parents.”

    Any violation of the legislation would constitute an unlawful practice for which the attorney general may take appropriate action under consumer fraud laws.

    The legislation now moves to the House for further consideration.