Earlier this month, Maine’s legislature enacted a new statute granting broad privacy rights to internet users in the state. Hailed as “the strictest consumer privacy protections in the nation,” the statute places among the toughest burdens on regulated entities to protect the data of their consumers.
The statute applies only to broadband internet service providers (ISPs), defined as any “mass-market retail service by wire or radio that provides the capability to transmit data to and receive data from all or substantially all Internet endpoints.” According to the sponsor of the original bill, state Senator Shenna Bellows, the statute is intended to target companies with mass amounts of consumer data, such as Verizon and Xfinity. It excludes large technology companies such as Google and Facebook, which are still avoidable by consumers if they choose to do so. Sen. Bellows noted that the prioritization of ISPs was due to the fact that, “you can use the internet without using Facebook, [but y]ou can’t use the internet without using your internet service provider.” She has stated that she does intend to introduce more general privacy legislation in the future.
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