Governor Running Out Of Time On Location Tracking Regulation

Sep 22, 2017

Time is running out on Governor Bruce Rauner to act on a bill that would change the way websites track a user's location and how they store that data. 

Supporters of the so called geolocation measure, HB 3449,  want to hold website owners and app developers accountable for how they track consumers. If the measure is signed into law—these websites and apps would need permission from users before any location is tracked or stored. Failure to do so could be seen as a deceptive business practice.

But some in the state's business community see this as an added burden. They say it would divert focus from the actual protection of consumer data.

"And that's where the money and the focus and the time should be going," says Tanya Trishe, vice president and general counsel for the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. She explains companies need to "ensure that they're spending all of their really valuable resources ensuring that the private information of consumers that they have is not being attacked."

Supporters say this initiative is necessary for increased transparency and trust. Peter Hanna is the co-founder of the Chicago-based Digital Privacy Alliance, a nonprofit organization that advocates for privacy legislation in states across the country. He says a lack of privacy laws at the federal level means regulation needs to be tackled at the state-level.

"It's about clarity and consent--being clear with the consumer and the individual . . . and getting that individual's consent."

According to the Digital Privacy Alliance, several organizations, including the Common Sense Kids, CAASE (Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation), and the ACLU--among others--have  sent letters to the Governor encouraging him to sign the bill.

Trishe--from the Illinois Retail Merchants Association--says talks with the governor's office have been positive and they remain hopeful he will veto the measure.

The bill was sent to the governor on July 26-- giving him 60 days to reach a decision.