Illinois’ Governor Vetoes the Geolocation Privacy Bill

On September 22, 2017, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed the proposed Geolocation Privacy Protection Act, which sought to limit the collection, use, retention, or disclosure of precise geolocation data from a mobile device without a person’s prior express and written consent.  The General Assembly originally passed the bill on June 27, 2017.  (For more background on the bill, see Illinois Becomes the First State to Pass a Geolocation Privacy Protection Bill (July 5, 2017)).

Governor Rauner’s comments afterwards suggest that industry concerns played a key role in his decision to veto the bill.  “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.”  This bill would have made Illinois the first state in the nation to pass a geolocation privacy protection law, however significant concerns were raised about its practical implementation, particularly with regard to Internet of Things devices.

There remains the possibility that the legislature may vote to override the veto.  But prospects for an override appear slim.  A veto requires three-fifths majority in both the Illinois House and Senate; meaning the bill would need an additional three votes in the Senate and eight in the House based on the bill’s original votes.  Rep. Ann Williams (D) is leading the override strategy.