from the sudden-outbreak-of-common-sense dept.
Submitted via IRC for Bytram
Maine Internet service providers will face the strictest consumer privacy protections in the nation under a bill signed Thursday by Gov. Janet Mills, but the new law will almost certainly be challenged in court.
Several technology and communication trade groups warned in testimony before the Legislature that the measure may be in conflict with federal law and would likely be the subject of legal action.
The new law, which goes into effect on July 1, 2020, would require providers to ask for permission before they sell or share any of their customers’ data to a third party. The law would also apply to telecommunications companies that provide access to the Internet via their cellular networks.
[...]State Sen. Shenna Bellows, D-Manchester, the sponsor of the new law, said Maine was taking a leading role when it came to protecting online consumer privacy.
“Mainers need to be able to trust that the private data they send online won’t be sold or shared without their knowledge,” Bellows said. “This law makes Maine first and best in the nation in protecting consumer privacy online.”
[...]Opponents to the law, including several coalitions of the nation’s leading telecommunication and technology sector companies, have argued it is in conflict with the FCCs rules and could also be a violation of U.S. Constitution’s interstate commerce clause, which prohibits any one state from regulating industries that do business across state lines.
The broadband industry is suing Maine to stop a Web-browsing privacy law similar to the one killed by Congress and President Donald Trump in 2017. Industry groups claim the state law violates First Amendment protections on free speech and the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution.
[...] Customer data protected by this law includes Web-browsing history, application-usage history, precise geolocation data, the content of customers' communications, IP addresses, device identifiers, financial and health information, and personal details used for billing.
[...] The state law "imposes unprecedented and unduly burdensome restrictions on ISPs', and only ISPs', protected speech," while imposing no requirements on other companies that deliver services over the Internet, the groups wrote in their lawsuit. The plaintiffs are America's Communications Association, CTIA, NCTA, and USTelecom.
[...] The lawsuit is part of a larger battle between ISPs and states that are trying to impose regulations stronger than those enforced by the federal government. One factor potentially working against the ISPs is that the Federal Communications Commission's attempt to preempt all current and future state net neutrality laws was blocked by a federal appeals court ruling in October 2019.
[...] But while the FCC was allowed to eliminate its own net neutrality rules, judges said the commission "lacked the legal authority to categorically abolish all 50 States' statutorily conferred authority to regulate intrastate communications."