Internet providers drop internet privacy law challenge

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Internet providers drop internet privacy law challenge
Internet providers drop internet privacy law challenge

The internet privacy law stops the service providers from using, disclosing, selling or providing access to customers’ personal information without permission

As a group of telecommunication providers has dropped the bid of internet privacy laws to overturn the Maine standard, one of the strictest internet privacy laws in the United States has withstood a legal challenge. In 2020 when Maine began enforcing an “opt-in” web privacy standard, it created one of the toughest rules in the nation for internet service providers. The internet privacy law stops the service providers from using, disclosing, selling or providing access to customers’ personal information without permission.

Industry associations swiftly sued with a claim that the new internet privacy law violated their First Amendment rights. A federal judge rejected that challenge, but legal wrangling continued.

Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey said, the groups, which include the country’s biggest telecommunications providers, filed to dismiss the lawsuit on 02 September. Frey said the state’s internet privacy law held up despite the efforts of an “army of industry lawyers organized against us,” and now other states can follow Maine’s lead.

“Maine’s Legislature wisely sought to protect Maine residents by restricting the disclosure and use of their most private and personal information,” Frey said.

The Maine Legislature passed the bill, proposed by former Democratic state Sen. Shenna Bellows, who is now Maine’s secretary of state, in 2019. Internet service providers then sued in February 2020, and attorneys for Maine have been in court defending the law since. The proposal stemmed from a Maine effort to bring back rules implemented during President Barack Obama’s tenure that were repealed by Congress during President Donald Trump’s term.

For more than $55,000 in costs incurred defending the internet privacy law, industry plaintiffs agreed to reimburse Maine, Frey said.

Supporters of Maine’s law include the ACLU of Maine, which filed court papers in the case in favour of keeping the law on the books. The ACLU said in court papers that the law was “narrowly drawn to directly advance Maine’s substantial interests in protecting consumers’ privacy, freedom of expression, and security.”

The internet privacy law has also been defended as “common case” by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills.

Another privacy law that regulates the use of facial recognition technology is also a home to Maine. That law, which came on the books last year, has also been cited as the strictest of its kind in the US.

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