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Maine Passes Internet Privacy Bill

Maine Passes Internet Privacy Bill
June 11, 2019
Maine Privacy Bill

Maine has passed a bill prohibiting ISPs from using and selling the data of internet users within the state.

The Act to Protect the Privacy of Online Consumer Information is closely modeled on an Obama era FCC rule that prohibits internet service providers from collecting information on their customers. The rule was revoked in 2017.

According to bill, the Maine legislation, “prohibits a provider of broadband Internet access service from using, disclosing, selling or permitting access to customer personal information unless the customer expressly consents to that use, disclosure, sale or access.... The bill prohibits a provider from refusing to serve a customer, charging a customer a penalty or offering a customer a discount if the customer does or does not consent to the use, disclosure, sale or access.”

Additional requirements include “reasonable measures” to protect user data from outside access, although there is not much in the way of specifics regarding these measures.

Although the bill passed with broad bipartisan support, tech companies and ISPs strongly opposed the measure.

"Maine should avoid being the first to attempt to regulate an interstate service," wrote Christina Fisher, a representative for a coalition of 84 technology companies opposing the law.

State Attorney General Aaron Frey disagreed.

“The state has a significant interest in protecting Maine consumers from practices that may compromise their personal data, or which place their financial well-being at risk,” Frey said in a statement in support of the law.

Read more about the law here.

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