It is reasonable for consumers in Illinois to desire greater privacy protections and transparency when it comes to how businesses collect and use their personal information. Yet privacy should not come at the unfair expense of small businesses.

Illinois House Bill 3358 proposes better privacy enforcement for consumers, but only among certain companies – namely, small businesses. This bill would unfairly come down harder on small businesses compared to major enterprises. Small business owners need to understand the full ramifications this bill could have if it passes in Illinois.

What the digital privacy bill means for consumers

HB 3358, often referred to as the digital privacy bill, would give the public greater control over how businesses can lawfully use their information. It would hold companies to higher standards in terms of data and privacy usage. Consumers in Illinois would enjoy better privacy protections, since all applicable businesses would have to disclose exactly how they are using sensitive information.

How HB 3358 could affect small businesses in Illinois

HB 3358 appears positive for consumers, but not for small businesses. In keeping with Illinois’ tradition of treating small businesses poorly, the new bill would unfairly crackdown on small businesses while making many major corporations exempt from the updated requirements. The text of the bill expressly exempts retailers and internet service providers. Exempt companies would not have the same responsibilities to protect consumer privacy as small businesses.

According to HB 3358, small businesses would have to inform consumers if they make any personal information available to third parties. Companies would have to share this information with the consumer free of charge. Yet major companies, including Verizon and retailers such as Walmart, would not have to comply with the same rules.

Ramifications of HB 3358 on businesses and consumers

Protecting consumer privacy is important, but HB 3358 would only put this responsibility on small businesses. This imbalance unfairly tips the scales in favor of large companies. It would also ignore consumer privacy infringements from thousands of exempt establishments.