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Sheriff Dart Urges Support for Right to Know Legislation

Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart today urged support for his proposed state legislation to increase personal data transparency between commercial website operators and their Illinois consumers.

The Right to Know Act would require companies to provide transparency into the categories of personal data collected on Illinois consumers and upon request by consumers, divulge the third parties with whom that information is shared and sold. Sheriff Dart proposed the bill as an initiative of his office and championed by State Rep. Art Turner (D-Chicago) as HB 2774, and State Sen. Michael Hastings (D-Tinley Park) as SB 1502. The bills are currently on their second readings.

“In the criminal justice world we are correctly scrupulous when we use things like social media data to help solve crime, we have a problem when private citizens’ data is getting less privacy consideration than that of criminals,” Sheriff Dart said. “Consumers deserve to know where their personal information is going. Without a change in regulations, the information about company data practices will remain almost entirely hidden from the public eye.”

The bill also gives customers – or the parents or legal guardians of customers under 18-years-old – the right to request the categories of personal information that was shared with third parties and the names of those third parties from commercial website operators. Operators must provide a response within 30 days to requests, but they are not required to respond to more than one request within a 12-month period from an individual customer. Operators must also provide a toll-free number or email address in their terms of use where customers can contact them for this information.

The legislation provides consumers also have a right of action to customers whose rights are violated under the act.

Supporters of the bill include the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, the American Civil Liberties Union, Digital Privacy Rights Alliance, Illinois Public Interest Research Group, the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Social Change – The Liberty Project and the Westside Justice Center.


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