Privacy Rights In A Digital Age

Privacy Rights In A Digital AgeToday, individuals are connected nearly every second of the day. This has only increased with the recent COVID-19 restrictions, which have caused people to work, learn and interact through technology even more than before. While this technology allows for increased human connection, it can also create issues regarding an individual’s ability to maintain privacy. Modern technology can affect everything from public persona to the understanding of one’s own history. Despite the beneficial uses for technology, some individuals attempt to use these developments to invade a person’s privacy.  In 2020, Illinois legislatures enacted a number of new laws to protect citizens’ privacy in varying electronic forums.


SB 1507 protects images and videos an individual may wish to remain private. The Nonconsensual Dissemination of Private Sexual Images Act addresses the issue of “revenge porn.” Revenge porn is when a person releases private or sexual images of  a victim on the internet without the victim’s consent or permission.  Even if the victim consented to the recording of the image and willingly gave the image to the individual, if the image is released without the consent of the victim the releasing of said images is prohibited. SB 1507 grants victims civil remedies to recover against the person who violated their privacy. Victims may now seek to recover economic, non-economic, and punitive damages in the Illinois Civil court system.


HB 2189 protects the genetic information of Illinois residents from being distributed without their consent. The new law addresses companies that transact directly with consumers to provide them information about their genetic history, companies like Ancestory.com or 23andme.com for example. Companies like this are now prohibited from sharing any test results and/or other personally identifiable information obtained through the tests with anyone, including health or life insurance companies. Companies can only distribute information if the consumer provides the company with written consent. By enacting HB 2189, Illinois citizens now have more control over how their genetic information is used.


SB 1624 requires that Illinois citizens be provided with notice if their privacy has been breached. The law requires companies that collect personal information concerning Illinois residents to report the occurrence of a data breach to the Attorney General. Specifically, the company must report a breach if it affects more than 500 Illinois residents. Lawmakers hope that this new law will allow Illinois residents to address a breach of private information more quickly and will lead to less detrimental consequences overall.

These laws are just some of those that provide protection of your online privacy. Whether the law addresses a person’s private images or genetic data, these laws exemplify Illinois lawmakers continuing attempts to protect its citizens.

If you have questions about any of these laws, or any other legal matter, contact Sherer Law Offices at (618) 692-6656 for more information.

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[1] http://illinoissenatedemocrats.com/images/PDFS/2019/2020-new-bills-list.pdf

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