The Dangers of Data
By: Olivija Vasiliauskas
In the Age of Information, the world runs on an invisible currency: data. This new industry has caused many parents to reassess how they can best protect their children from the dangers of the internet.
To answer this question, Wheaton North delegates introduced bill H-O-01, which requires businesses who gross $20 million per year or who make half of their annual profit from the sale of their consumer’s data to create an opt-out option for those under the age of 18.
Senate Sponsor Lindsey Allen stated that the bill is a “response to the lack of a comprehensive data protection policy from the federal government.” Allen also compared data regulation in the US to laws around the globe, describing the US as “lagging behind.” Despite the existence of laws requiring consumers to accept website “cookies,” many companies don’t have a data collection opt-out choice. Social media platforms and online shopping websites often sell personal information such as addresses, ages, genders, and browsing history. If passed, this bill will ensure that companies are forced to provide an option for consumers who want to ensure their internet safety and privacy.
Companies will be held accountable for these laws through violation fees imposed by the bill. Not providing an opt-out choice for consumers “would qualify as an intentional violation for each customer in Illinois, so they would be fined $7,500 for each person in Illinois denied the opt-out option.”
In the realm of today’s digital world, consumers must make the choice of whether to experience the internet and sacrifice their privacy or try to live a less plugged-in life. Bill H-O-01 provides a third option that prioritizes user safety and allows consumers to make informed decisions about data collection programs.