Illinois “Right to Know” Bill Passed Out Of Senate Judiciary Committee; Moves To Illinois State Senate

King & Spalding

On March 14, 2017, the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill requiring websites and apps to notify their Illinois customers of the types of personally identifiable information they collect, disclose and sell.

The bill, titled the “Right to Know Act,” was sponsored by Illinois State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park).  In his press release, State Senator Hastings stated: “The price of surfing the web shouldn’t mean sacrificing your privacy and personal information.  Every time someone simply engages on a website from the comfort of their home, commercial websites could possibly be storing and sharing this data.”

If enacted, the Right to Know Act would require operators of commercial websites or online services that collect “personal information” of Illinois customers through the internet to:

  • Disclose to its customers the categories of personal information that the operator collects about them;
  • Disclose to its customers all of the types or categories of third parties to which an operator may disclose a customer’s personal information; and
  • Provide a description of a customer’s rights under the Right to Know Act.

“Personal information” is defined fairly broadly in the Right to Know Act, and includes identity information, address information, telephone numbers, birthdate or age, physical characteristics, race, ethnicity, religious affiliation and professional and educational information. 

The Right to Know Act would also create an obligation on operators that disclose customer personal information to third parties to tell its customers all the categories of such personal information and the names of the third parties that received the information.  Customers would have a right to request this information, and operators would have 30 days to respond to  such requests.

In addition to disclosure obligations, the Right to Know Act creates a right of action for customers to pursue relief under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and also to seek injunctive relief.

Illinois Judiciary Committee members who voted against the bill were concerned that it would create an undue burden on small and medium businesses and could stifle data analytics companies, a growing business sector in Chicago.

The bill now moves to the Illinois Senate floor for a vote. If passed, it would head to an Illinois House panel.

The text of the Right to Know Act bill can be found here.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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