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Candidate Question 6: Geolocation Privacy Protection Act

Tuesday, Sep 26, 2017

* On Friday afternoon, I sent all the Democratic gubernatorial campaigns a link to this story

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.

The bill is here. Notice that an amendment specifically exempted political committees. How convenient.

* Gov. Rauner vetoed the bill later that afternoon. From the Chicagoland Chamber’s response

Protecting consumer privacy is important, but not when that legislation is designed to open up businesses of all sizes to litigation. This bill would have directly contradicted the FTC’s call for short, in-context disclosures, which are more effective and easier for consumers to understand.

* From the Digital Privacy Alliance’s response

(T)he Governor’s veto is a betrayal of consumer trust and total failure to people who value their personal privacy. The Governor’s action is a clear message that he values his Silicon Valley friends more than the people and small businesses in Illinois.

Ari Scharg is a board member for the alliance. He’s also a partner at Edelson PC, “a consumer protection firm based in Chicago and San Francisco.” The alliance’s legislative director is Jacob Wright, an attorney at Edelson PC.

Edelson PC and its namesake have been contributing to legislators since August of last year, and many of those contributions were in the $10K range.

The firm is well-known in California

When technology executives imagine the boogeyman, they see a baby-face guy in wire-rim glasses. His name is Jay Edelson.

Mr. Edelson, 42, is a class-action lawyer. He is also, if not the most hated person in Silicon Valley, very close to it. His firm, Edelson PC, specializes in suing technology companies, claiming privacy violations. He has gone after pretty much every tech company you have heard of — Amazon, Apple, Google — as well as many that you have not.

He’s stirred up some stuff in Cook County, too. Click here.

* So, I was mainly curious what JB Pritzker and Chris Kennedy thought about the bill, since Pritzker has been very involved in the tech community through his work to set up 1871. The wildly successful tech center is located in the Merchandise Mart, which Kennedy ran. But I also wanted to give everyone else a chance to weigh in, so I asked the campaigns: “As governor, would your candidate sign this bill into law? Why or why not?”

* Here are their answers in order of their submission…

Gubernatorial Candidate Tio Hardiman supports HB3449 and would sign this bill into law because it is very important that we protect consumers on all levels. As leaders, we should always find a way to make sure that people come first and agreeing to allow websites owners or APP developers to track or store information about consumers without their permission could present serious problems for the majority of consumers in the state of Illinois.

* Next…

Bob Daiber says he would sign HB3449 because this legislation brings a dimension of privacy for consumers. Daiber said in today’s digital world, individuals should possess the right to grant consent before information is tracked or stored in a database.

* Sen. Daniel Biss…

“Litesa and I both strongly supported this bill in the spring, and I would definitely sign it.

“As the recent Equifax breach reminded us, neither corporations nor the government can be blindly trusted with our personal data. That’s why I’ve led on these issues in the Senate, introducing legislation to limit police surveillance, crack down on banks selling credit card data, stop Equifax from profiting off their data breach by selling data protection services, and more. We need a Governor who will stand up and protect all Illinoisans, not a Governor who continually sides with millionaires and big corporations over the rest of us.”

* Pawar’s campaign initially sent me a press release about the governor’s veto, then sent me this…

Yes, Ameya Pawar would have signed HB 3449, the geolocation privacy bill. It’s a shame Gov. Rauner chose to protect big corporations instead of consumer privacy. Because of his veto, Illinois missed an opportunity to become the first state to codify these protections and lead the way nationally on geolocation legislation.

Rauner saying this bill would result in job losses without improving privacy protections is false. It’s merely an attempt to distract from his strict pro-business agenda that protects the billionaire class while ignoring the needs of working families.

Pawar would have signed the geolocation privacy bill because he believes government exists to serve its residents and protect their privacy, especially when private consumer information is being used to serve corporate self-interests without their consent. Giving consumers more control over what information is shared, and to whom, is necessary for increasing transparency and restoring trust in our institutions.

* Now, here’s Chris Kennedy…

Yes, signing this bill allows the consumer to hold the power when it comes to the personal information they share with businesses. I trust the wisdom of the consumer more than the wisdom of government regulators or corporate competitors. Let them decide to opt in or opt out. In the age of Equifax and Russia meddling in our political elections, our priority should be to protect people online and build trust among consumers.

* JB Pritzker…

As governor, I will sign the Geolocation Privacy Protection Act. Protecting digital privacy ought to be a priority for our state and for our nation. Without federal action, we need to make sure every mobile phone user in Illinois isn’t having their location information tracked by companies without a user’s explicit permission.

I thought it might be possible that one of those two guys would break from the pack on this topic. I should’ve known better.

…Adding… From comments…

Rich ,
How about this little twist ….. Aren’t we recruiting Amazon to the State of Illinois?

Exactly right.

* Related…

* Question 1: Marijuana legalization

* Question 2: Where would they cut?

* Question 3: Municipal bankruptcy

* Question 4: Campaign theme

* Question 5: Cook County pop tax and state repeal

- Posted by Rich Miller        

15 Comments
  1. - Perrid - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 12:09 pm:

    Interesting how strong the yes’ were. I think privacy is important but I also think the scope of this law is just too broad. I was kind of expecting someone to have at least some reservations, but whatever, it’s a primary, so they’re trying to out left each other.


  2. - City Zen - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 12:15 pm:

    You don’t have to wait for the Geolocation Privacy Protection Act to act: Settings > Privacy > Location Services > turn off.

    Does my phone knowing I’m in the West Loop make me more at risk to Equifax or an attack from Russia?


  3. - Grand Avenue - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 12:20 pm:

    So Daiber’s missed a month of signature gathering because he hasn’t announced a running mate - is he running or not?


  4. - It's Demmer Time - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 12:28 pm:

    IPI has been all over this issue. Good analysis here: https://www.illinoispolicy.org/rauner-vetoes-bill-to-restrict-collection-use-of-geolocation-data/


  5. - Anyon - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 12:28 pm:

    Rich ,
    How about this little twist ….. Aren’t we recruiting Amazon to the State of Illinois?


  6. - OneMan - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 12:43 pm:

    The exceptions are very interesting…

    Adds an exception for public utilities, alternative retail electric suppliers, and alternative gas suppliers and for political committees

    Besides the obvious ‘political committees’ exemption that seems to cause some pause, I think the rest of the list is interesting too.

    I can see several what I would consider legitimate issues with the law is written.

    For one thing, the permission should be for the device, not the person. Why, because the way I am reading this if I have locator software on my laptop (let us say a lowjack for laptops) and someone has my laptop without my permission and they do something that triggers the tracking/phone home action, that would seem to violate the law unless the person gives permission first.

    This language needs better definition.

    is sufficient to determine or infer the precise location of that device.

    How do you define ‘precise location’ is that an address? If so you might be able to that with an IP address and most entities track IP addresses.
    Is it a neighborhood, even better odds of being able to figure this out using an IP address.

    If it is more precise than that, how many decimals are required in the Lat/Long to make it precise?

    It would seem to me that I would have to know where you are in order to ask you for ‘Illinois permission’, so lets say you are using Waze to get from Gary Indiana to Springfield IL, once you cross the border I would have to turn off a lot of the functionality of Waze until you responded to an ‘Illinois permission message’ so I could use you to help calculate traffic data and the rest.

    It gets you into the same situation that the European ‘right to be forgotten’ law had, that I have to remember you in order to remember that I need to forget you.

    It seems crafted for class-action lawsuits.

    If this was a real issue, why exclude political activities.


  7. - cdog - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 12:56 pm:

    I’m sure Amazon and the new NGA.mil (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) down in St.Louis are NOT fans of privacy for anyone in Illinois.

    This bill should have been signed. Rauner’s carrying somebody’s water on this.


  8. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 1:22 pm:

    Interesting how many of those candidates also got money from Edelson.


  9. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 1:33 pm:

    Wonder if they have a position on Cook County Sheriff devoting staff and resources to lobbying for Edelson while claiming soda pop tax money needed to combat gun violence


  10. - Colin O'Scopey - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 2:05 pm:

    =Edelson PC and its namesake have been contributing to legislators since August of last year, and many of those contributions were in the $10K range=

    In days gone by, this would be known as a “fetcher” bill. Is it really the business of the state legislature to enact legislation solely for the purpose to allow class-action law firms to pursue technology firms for violations?

    And whomever pointed out in comments that three areas of the state are aggressively beseeching Amazon to locate “HQ2″ here (Chicago, DuPage & Metro East), this bill would be a smack in the face of that effort.


  11. - Anyon - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 2:19 pm:

    My point exactly Colin


  12. - AmazonLoversUnite - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 2:29 pm:

    And what’s your position on your personal privacy once Amazon inevitably passes IL over…


  13. - Cato - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 2:56 pm:

    Anonymous 1:33, why is the Cook county sheriff involved? Don’t they have enough to worry about instead of carrying the water for a class action law firm?


  14. - Anyon - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 2:58 pm:

    AmazonLover………..That’s easy my position is to turn it off


  15. - AmazonLoversUnite - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 3:14 pm:

    Anyon, you do realize that turning it off doesn’t actually stop the data collection, right?


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