Federal lawmakers clobbered the FCC’s digital data disclosure law, but Illinois representatives are nursing a version of it back to health. A digital data privacy measure, if ratified, the Right to Know Act would require most websites and social media platforms to disclose what user data they collect and with whom it’s shared.
Illinois’ Right to Know Act: A Digital Data Privacy Law
Sponsored by State Senator Michael Hastings, the Right to Know Act requires Internet service providers and websites to provide either a working email address or toll-free number that people can use to request information about collected personal data and third parties that received said data.
So far, a version of the bill has passed in the House, and the state’s Senate recently voted 32-21 in favor. It now heads back to a House committee, where it’s expected to be approved.
Federal Data Collection Law Is Dead, But States Are Picking Up The Slack
A Federal Communication Commission digital privacy law, which would have required ISPs to disclose the nature and destination of collected consumer data, was scheduled to go into effect in the coming months. But in March, the U.S. Congress killed the measure.
States, however, seem to be filling the legislative gap.
The National Conference of State Legislatures revealed that statutes similar to the one in Illinois are being drafted in Alaska and Rhode Island. Plus, about twelve other states are in the early stages of considering some form of online privacy legislation.
Not Everyone Is Thrilled With Illinois Right to Know Act
Online businesses aren’t fans of the act. Opponents argue that a dearth of actual consumer value, coupled with costly administrative excess, make this bill a bad one.
Sen. Chris Nybo explained, “Every technology company [I have] spoken to, from Microsoft to Uber, Lyft…is opposed to this bill.” Nybo also lamented, “I think it sends the wrong message.”
Another subset of politicians is also opposed to the law. Not necessarily because of reasons above, but because they think online privacy issues should be handled on a federal level.
“The federal government has a system of rules and regulations to handle internet traffic,” explained Jason Barickman, a state Senator. “I think we, as one of 50 states, (need) to let them handle those issues and not create additional burdens for our many people and businesses here in Illinois,” he concluded.
Undeterred by detractors, Sen. Hastings, the bill’s sponsor, enthused “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.”
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