Posted on May 25, 2017 by Caleb Chen

Illinois Right to Know Act will protect the private information that internet companies collect on you

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The Right to Know Act in Illinois is a proposed state level internet privacy law that would protect private information online – no matter the type of company it is stored with. Shortly after President Trump signed S.J.Res. 34 and ended federal rules protecting internet privacy, Illinois politicians reacted, introducing bills collectively known as the Right to Know Act. The individual bills were HB 2774 in the House (introduced by State Rep. Art Turner) and & SB 1502 (introduced by State Sen. Michael Hastings) in the Senate. The new legislation will force all internet companies over a certain size, including internet service providers (ISPs) like Verizon and edge providers like Facebook, to disclose to customers what information they are collecting and giving to third parties before they give it.

Private citizens deserve internet privacy; the right to know what third parties have received their private information

The mastermind behind the Right to Know Act, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart from Cook County, posted an official endorsement message the next day. Sheriff Cook explained why he believed internet privacy protections are important for private citizens and where exactly the current regulations fail private citizens:

“In the criminal justice world we are correctly scrupulous when we use things like social media data to help solve crime, we have a problem when private citizens’ data is getting less privacy consideration than that of criminals. Consumers deserve to know where their personal information is going. Without a change in regulations, the information about company data practices will remain almost entirely hidden from the public eye.”

Dart has worked with state representative to push this legislation through, and SB 1502 has already passed the Illinois State Senate with a 31-21 vote. State Sen. Hastings commented after the bill had passed:

“I think this is a step forward for Illinois in terms of data privacy. It gives people the right to know what information (internet companies are) selling to a third party.”

However, not everyone was convinced that this is a good idea. One dissenter to the Right To Know Act, State Sen. Chris Nybo, told GovTech:

“Every technology company that I’ve spoken to, from Microsoft down to Uber, Lyft … is opposed to this bill. People are watching across the country what happens on this bill. I think it sends the wrong message.”

Actually, that’s kind of the point of the bill. Illinois is one of a few states that is taking the opportunity to clarify that both ISPs and edge providers, such as Google and Facebook, follow the same internet privacy rules. Now, SB 1502 is awaiting approval from the Illinois House, and should it pass, internet privacy rights will again be restored and codified in one more jurisdiction.

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About Caleb Chen

Caleb Chen is a digital currency and privacy advocate who believes we must #KeepOurNetFree, preferably through decentralization. Caleb holds a Master's in Digital Currency from the University of Nicosia as well as a Bachelor's from the University of Virginia. He feels that the world is moving towards a better tomorrow, bit by bit by Bitcoin.

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