Rauner vetoes smartphone location tracking privacy bill

on Sep23

23 September 2017 | 1:40 am

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Friday vetoed a bill that would have required companies to obtain consent from smartphone users before using their location information or sharing it with other companies.

The Geolocation Privacy Protection Act had been viewed by advocates as a potential step forward for consumer privacy, and by opponents as an obstacle to business innovation.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

The nonprofit Digital Privacy Alliance called Rauner’s veto of House Bill 3449 “a betrayal of consumer trust and total failure to people who value their personal privacy.”

“Had it been signed into law, this historic piece of legislation would have provided transparency by requiring corporations that collect, use or sell Illinoisans’ geolocation information from their mobile devices to obtain their consent before tracking them,” the group said in a statement.

Rauner said the “additional and redundant” layers of consent agreements in mobile applications “would fail to provide any improved privacy protections,” a stance also held by Downers Grove-based technology trade association CompTIA.

“We appreciate Governor Rauner’s veto of the bill and look forward to working closely with legislators to find a solution that is easy to understand and implement for consumers while preserving all of the benefits that geolocation services offer,” CompTIA’s state government affairs director said.

Gov. Bruce Rauner discusses Illinois school funding during a press conference at the Thompson Center in July. File Photo. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

That veto was among five handed down by Rauner on Friday, including House Bill 2977, which would have required elementary schools to include a unit of cursive handwriting for students before they complete the fifth grade.

“This legislation constitutes yet another unfunded mandate for school districts that will not protect the health or safety of Illinois students,” Rauner said.

The bill’s lead sponsor, Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch, D-Hillside, said in an email that he was “disappointed” by the veto.

“Research is clear that cursive writing improves cognitive learning and other important things in life,” Welch said. “But we are talking about Bruce Rauner, who could care less about kids and working families.”

The three other bills vetoed by Rauner would have required school boards to allow community groups to post free after-school program information on campus; would have called for a performance audit of the Department of Healthcare and Family Service; and would have adjusted firefighter pensions.


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