LettersEditor

Do you trust technology companies to keep your personal information safe? What about to collect, record and sell your geographic location at any moment? Would you stake your life on that trust?

Many of us do so on a daily basis without ever considering the repercussions. Unfortunately, for survivors of intimate partner violence, such data intrusion represents a considerable risk to the safety of themselves, their friends and their families.

Unanticipated and unwanted sharing of geolocation information has had disastrous consequences for survivors of intimate partner violence. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, stalkers are increasingly utilizing technology to stalk their intimate partners prior, during and after committing sexual violence.

The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, conducted by the Center for Disease Control, estimates that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men in the U.S. will experience stalking at some point during their lifetime. As new technology figures more and more prominently in intimate partner violence, victim services organizations are struggling to keep pace in order protect survivors’ data privacy.

The Geolocation Privacy Protection Act, aimed to protect the data privacy of all Illinois residents, sat languishing on Gov. Rauner’s desk awaiting approval for over a month. Friday, Rauner vetoed it. The bill, passed on June 27 by the General Assembly, would have required that all technology companies wishing to collect your private geolocation information obtain your consent prior to doing so. It’s that simple. The act would have protected your right to location privacy.

Gov. Rauner decided that Illinois residents do not deserve that right. For survivors, their geolocation privacy ensures their safety. Without it, we will likely see continued partner violence perpetuated through the use of geolocation technologies.

Your safety matters. The safety of survivors matters. Gov. Rauner, survivors matter.

Angela Rose, Chicago

Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment

founder and executive director

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