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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Four trade groups sue Maine over privacy law

State Issues State Regulation State Legislation Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security

State Issues

On February 14, four trade groups filed suit against Maine in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine, alleging that a recently enacted state privacy law (covered by InfoBytes here) infringes the rights of Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The complaint claims that L.D. 946 “imposes unprecedented and unduly burdensome restrictions on ISPs’, and only ISPs’, protected speech,” and is “not remotely tailored to protecting consumer privacy.” Among other things, the trade groups claim that because the law only stifles the use of consumer data by ISPs and not by other similarly situated companies, it violates their First Amendment protected speech rights. The groups also argue that the Maine law is much stricter to ISPs than other state privacy laws which “provide opt-out rights for most consumer data and reserve opt-in consent for a narrow subset of sensitive personal information,” whereas L.D. 946 uses an opt-in system. L.D. 946 also restricts the ISPs’ use of non-sensitive information that is not personally identifying and prohibits the ISPs from providing customer discounts or rewards programs to consumers who opt-in to sharing information.

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