March 04, 2024

Eye On Illinois: DVLPA could be another step in identity protection through legislation

Could DVLPA be the new BIPA?

Tuesday’s column explored the possibility of redefining punishments under the 2008 Biometric Information Privacy Act. On Monday, state Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, D-Glenview, introduced House Bill 4672, the Digital Voice and Likeness Protection Act.

Like BIPA, Gong-Gershowitz’s proposal offers protection for unique, irreplaceable identifiers. Identity theft is a scourge, but financial institutions can rectify a lot on the back end, and even the federal government can reissue a Social Security number. It’s not exactly simple to get a new fingerprint, facial geometry or voice.

But whereas BIPA focuses on a company’s obligations to get informed consent from people who supply biometric data, while also maintaining and publishing policies on how that data will be kept and destroyed, the proposed DVLPA has a slightly different angle.

As introduced, the bill stipulates that a provision in any agreement for personal or professional services is unenforceable if it meets three criteria: one, it allows the creation or use of a digital replica of someone’s likeness or voice in place of them doing in-person work; two, the provision doesn’t “clearly define and detail all of the proposed uses of the digital replica or the generative artificial intelligence system;” and three, the individual party entering the contract didn’t have legal or labor union representation.

The law would apply to future and existing agreements, imposing on contractual parties the obligation of giving written notice that such provisions would be unenforceable as of Jan. 1, 2025. With its focus on contract law, the proposal is narrower in scope and potential penalties than BIPA, but it falls under the same umbrella of personal protection.

It’s also a logical next step from Gong-Gershowitz, who sponsored House Bill 2123 in the spring. That proposal, now enrolled as the Digital Forgeries Act, allows civil lawsuits over “deepfakes,” or digitally forged images and videos. The target is people who solicit, make or distribute deepfakes without consent in order to harass, extort, threaten or harm the person depicted. It excludes satire and parody.

Technology will always evolve faster than legislation, but Illinois lawmakers have generally sought to protect individual rights. DVLPA definitely continues that trend.

TAX HELP: The state revenue department has a landing page for links to connect people with free tax preparation resources. Visit tax.illinois.gov/individuals/free-tax-preparation-resources.html for more information.

ON THIS DAY: It’s the 114th anniversary of the incorporation of the Boy Scouts of America, the work of W.D. Boyce. A Pennsylvania native, by 1910 Boyce had been well established at his Ottawa acreage after business success in Chicago. The Ottawa Historical & Scouting Heritage Museum (ottawahistoricalscoutingmuseum.org), founded in 1992, is a must-see destination for anyone interested in the history of BSA and Illinois’ role in the organization’s legacy.

• Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media. Follow him on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, @sth749. He can be reached at sholland@shawmedia.com.

Scott Holland

Scott T. Holland

Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media Illinois. Follow him on Twitter at @sth749. He can be reached at sholland@shawmedia.com.