As the federal government rolls back online consumer protections, legislators across the country are looking for ways to push back against Washington D.C.’s latest agenda item (“Congress fails but Illinois can protect your online privacy” — March 28). Unfortunately, legislation currently being considered by the Illinois General Assembly not only does little to protect Illinois consumers; it inconveniences them while hurting Illinois entrepreneurs and stifling our state’s growing technology sector.

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Want to hail a ride from your phone, or navigate to your destination safely and quickly? Under the proposed House Bill 3449, you’ll have to scroll through screens of legalese before you can use your favorite ride hailing service or map.

The bill would prevent everyday users from accessing a wide variety of common geolocation services — think Wi-Fi, internet searches, maps and navigation services, even “find my device” features — without express consent. It would require users to read and sign complex disclosures every single time they use geolocation services on their smart devices. Every. Single. Time.

Another concerning piece of legislation is House Bill 2774, a highly complex privacy and transparency regulation requiring companies to hire lawyers to set up new compliance systems, even in cases where businesses already offer significant protections and privacy controls. In California, where similar legislation was enacted over 10 years ago, an average of one to two requests come from consumers per year. The law doesn’t achieve its goal to promote transparency; rather, it places a huge and costly burden on small and growing businesses. As a result, no other state has enacted similar legislation.

Unfortunately, the real beneficiaries of these bills would not be Illinois consumers, but rather attorneys seeking to recover fees through private rights of action and class action lawsuits. Illinois consumers can and should be protected from violations of their online privacy, but the legislation currently under consideration will simply make lives harder — for consumers and Illinois businesses. To encourage growth and innovation in Illinois’ economy and growing tech industries, we urge our legislators to oppose HB 3449 and HB 2774.

Omar Duque, president and CEO,
Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

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Children suffer in South Sudan

The sight of Syrian children dying from poison gas horrified President Trump, and he took immediate military action against the Assad government. Perhaps if he’d seen the reports and photos of starving South Sudan children – there have been many for many months – he would have taken drastic measures against that country’s cruel leaders. Human suffering cannot be compared, but what should be is the international community’s response to inhumanity and tragedies. The silence on South Sudan is deafening. Maybe it’s because there’s no Russian connection.

Hosea L. Martin, Bronzeville

The buck stops where?

Apparently Donald Trump doesn’t know the meaning of President Harry Truman’s maxim, “the buck stops here.” I wish he’d learn it.

Bob Barth, Edgewater

Trump betrays his voter base

President Trump’s budget defies common sense and will certainly aggravate the very problems that his voter base expects him to solve. It gives yet more tax cuts to the super rich (his business is among the beneficiaries) and increases funding for the bloated and enormously wasteful Pentagon budget while cutting funding for vital government programs that increase quality of life, save lives and grow the economy. His is a budget that redistributes wealth to benefit the super rich at the expense of the poor, magnifying our extreme inequality, which is not only inhumane but bad for our economy and democracy.

Trump’s government validates Reagan’s saying that government is the problem, not the solution. He will likely make Russia great again.

Lanlan Hoo, Wheaton