Madison - St. Clair Record

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Rauner vetoes geolocation bill; Business groups cheer

By Ann Maher | Sep 25, 2017

SPRINGFIELD - Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed an internet privacy bill saying it would harm businesses and inhibit innovation, without improving protections for consumers.

“This bill would result in job loss across the state without materially improving privacy protections for Illinoisans or making devices and their apps safer for children,” Rauner said. “The addition of this policy to Illinois’ existing burden of red tape will hurt Illinois’ growing reputation as a destination for innovation-based job creation.”

He described the measure by saying it would have required an additional and redundant layer of app notifications on electronic devices and would have created penalties for non-compliant app developers and tech companies.

Business groups were quick to acknowledge Rauner's veto.

The Illinois Retail Merchants Association said the bill would have "diverted resources away from the actual protection of consumer data."

"Today's business owners are on the front-lines of international cyber-warfare and are working tirelessly to ensure that their customer's important private information is appropriately protected," the group said. "Anyone who utilizes data needs cooperation, not additional requirements, that diverts focus and resources from the core mission. We applaud Governor Rauner for recognizing where the focus, and the resources, should be."

The bill, which passed both houses on June 27, would have become law this week without Rauner's veto action on Friday.

House Bill 3449, known as the Geolocation Privacy Protection Act, would have required commercial entities to get the express consent of device owners to collect, use, store or disclose their whereabouts.

The measure also was opposed by legal reform groups who criticized it as being more in line with the interests of the trial bar than with consumer protection.

It would have given authority to the attorney general to pursue actions under the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, would have allowed attorneys' fees and costs and injunctive relief and would have allowed courts to award three times the amount of actual damages assessed.

Illinois Civil Justice League president John Pastuovic said the bill fell "far" short in ensuring consumer privacy.

"Not only does HB3449 fail to improve privacy protections for its citizens, this legislation would stunt innovation-based job growth by creating burdensome red tape that would ultimately lead to a new avenue of frivolous lawsuits in Illinois," Pastuovic said in an email statement.

The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce also reacted to the veto.

"The Chicagoland Chamber applauds the Governor for vetoing HB 3449 and for subsequently protecting the jobs of Illinoisans across the technology, retail and small business communities of our state," stated Michael Reever, the group's acting president and CEO.

"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. We hope to continue dialogue around this topic in the future in order to achieve protections in a real and meaningful manner, and not to enrich trial attorneys."

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Organizations in this Story

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner Illinois Retail Merchants Association