Sen. Bellows applauds court ruling protecting Mainers’ privacy online

Posted: July 07, 2020 | Senator Bellows

Sen. Shenna Bellows, D-Manchester, is applauding a court ruling issued today in favor of a law she sponsored that protects Mainers’ privacy online. Sen. Bellows’ bill,  LD 946, “An Act To Protect the Privacy of Online Customer Information,” prevents internet service providers (ISPs) operating in Maine from selling or sharing a customer’s personal data without the customer’s permission.

Large, national telecom industry groups — ACAConnects , CTIA , NCTA and USTelecom — challenged the law, asking federal court to block its implementation. Today, July 7, the court issued its ruling in favor of the law. 

“I’ve always been confident that Maine’s first-in-the-nation internet privacy law is constitutional, despite big corporations’ claims to the contrary. I’m hopeful this law can now serve as a model for the rest of the country,” said Sen. Bellows. “Mainers’ personal information shouldn’t be put up for sale to the highest bidder by their internet service provider. I’m thankful for this strong ruling, which allows the law to move forward. This is excellent news for Maine internet users, as well as internet users everywhere.”

Of the five counts in the lawsuit, the court denied a motion for judgement on the first two counts and dismissed the other three counts.

Judge Lance Walker wrote in the ruling, in part: “The idea that the FCC’s relinquishment of authority over ISPs creates a federal scheme prohibiting state privacy regulation of ISPs blinks reality. … Having decided that federal law does not preempt Maine’s Privacy Statute, I will consider Plaintiffs’ shoot-the-moon argument that the few uncontested facts in the record entitle them to final judgment on Count One, the claim that the Privacy Statute is a facially unconstitutional violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Like Harold with a purple crayon, Plaintiffs have drawn themselves a steep mountain to climb by filing for judgment on the pleadings.”

LD 946 went into effect on July 1, 2020.