In 2019, Maine passed “An Act to Protect the Privacy of Online Customer Information.” Despite the law’s best intentions, it does not adequately protect the online privacy of Mainers.

Mainers deserve a strong and uniform privacy framework that applies across the entire internet and that covers all online activities.

The Maine privacy law is unlike every other state in the country that has passed online privacy legislation – including California, Vermont, Nevada, Delaware, and Oregon. The law only applies to internet service providers – exempting the websites, online services, and social media platforms that people access online and that put our data most at risk.

MAINE’S CURRENT LAW DOESN’T ADEQUATELY PROTECT PRIVACY

It makes no sense that Maine’s privacy law places no boundaries on the data practices of internet giants like Facebook or Google that are being fined and paying settlements to the federal government for consumer privacy violations. Rather than ensuring all online companies play by the same set of rules to protect consumers, the law compels both large and small internet service providers to follow different privacy rules – while exempting the Big Tech platforms that raise the most privacy concerns.

    • Facebook was recently fined $5 billion by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for privacy violations – the largest fine ever levied on a tech company by the FTC.
    • Google and YouTube are also being required to pay a record $170 million for violating the privacy rights of children.

MAINERS DESERVE REAL TRANSPARENCY

Mainers also deserve real transparency when it comes to companies’ privacy practices.

In addition to exempting websites, online services and social media platforms, the Maine privacy law does not require companies to tell consumers enough about what they need to know – like what personal information is being collected and where it is being shared. It merely requires them to have a website summarizing the rights and obligations of the law. The Maine legislature must bolster the notice requirements, mandating that companies describe the personal information they collect and share, why they collect and share it, and who they share or sell it to.

The Maine law fails to adequately protect Mainers from real threats to online privacy. But it’s not too late. The legislature has an opportunity to enhance privacy protections and transparency by amending Maine’s law before it goes into effect in July 2020.

Urge the legislature to put Mainers’ online privacy first.

TAKE ACTION

Close the gaping loophole left open by the law’s failure to apply privacy protections for data collected by companies like Google and Facebook.

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