Committee backs Bellows bill to protect internet consumers’ privacy
AUGUSTA — The Legislature’s Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology on Tuesday voted to support Legislation introduced by Sen. Shenna Bellows, D-Manchester, that would protect the private data of internet service provider customers. The committee voted 8-2 in favor of LD 946, “An Act To Protect the Privacy of Online Customer Information.”
“Internet service providers should not be able to sell or share everything that they know about you — including your most private and sensitive personal information — without your consent,” said Sen. Bellows. “Without laws to prevent internet companies from doing just that, nothing online is private. I’m thankful the committee voted to support this commonsense privacy protection.”
LD 946, which has bipartisan support, would require internet service providers to obtain the consent of a consumer before selling, sharing or giving away that consumer’s sensitive personal data or information. The bill also ensures that internet service providers, or ISPs, can not coerce consumers into accepting the sharing of their sensitive data as terms for using an internet service provider.
“For Maine’s ISPs, the value of the law would far outweigh the regulatory cost,” said Fletcher Kittredge, CEO of GWI, a Maine-based internet service provider. “All Maine citizens would benefit from having their privacy protected.”
“In a landscape where privacy seems to be eroding, it is necessary for the state to take measures to place guardrails protecting consumers,” said Attorney General Aaron Frey in testimony supporting LD 946.
The bill now faces votes before the Maine Senate and House.