Protect Household Privacy

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HB 2553 places modest parameters on the collection and use of household electronic data by law enforcement. With the proliferation of these devices – like “Alexa” or a Ring doorbell, there needs to be some rules to protect your private information. Make your voice heard in support of this bill!

Message Recipients:
State Representatives

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Your Message
Support HB 2553!
Dear State Representative,

I write to encourage you to sponsor and support the Protecting Household Privacy Act in the Illinois House. The PHPA strikes an appropriate balance to protect the private information gathered by the increasing number of personal home devices like doorbells and personal assistants. The bill places modest limits on the collection and use of household electronic data by law enforcement.

Smart household technology has grown at an unprecedented pace. The same virtual assistants, security cameras, and smart appliances that used to appear on TV have now become a part of many American households. Such devices can provide convenient benefits to their owners and offer the promise of a "safe and smart home," with powerful monitoring and automation capabilities. Without regulation, companies could share the information gathered by these devices with law enforcement agencies without our knowledge.

PHPA does not allow law enforcement agencies to acquire such data from a private third party, unless it meets one of four limited exceptions. Briefly, these exceptions are limited to law enforcement:
• First obtaining a judicial warrant;
• Responding to a call for emergency services;
• Responding to an emergency situation involving a clear and present danger of imminent death or great bodily harm resulting from a kidnapping, abduction or hostage situation in which no previous notice of the emergency was provided, and the household electronic data is necessary and must be accessed before a warrant can be issued; or
• Gaining the lawful consent of the owner, or person in actual or constructive possession, of the household electronic device.

Even when such data is obtained by a law enforcement agency, the PHPA places reasonable parameters on how long this information can be retained and to whom it can be disclosed. For example, the bill mandates that all information collected by a warrant or in an emergency circumstance be destroyed within 60 days, unless there is a reasonable suspicion that the information contains evidence of criminal activity or the information is relevant to an ongoing investigation or pending criminal trial.

Illinois citizens should not have to choose between using household technological conveniences and preserving the right to privacy in their home. The PHPA is a critical step to protect our information and limit law enforcement’s access to it in the absence of a valid exception. I urge you to sponsor and support this bill.

Sincerely,

[First Name] [Last Name]
[Your Address]

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