Broadband industry challenges Maine privacy law in First Amendment lawsuit

BY Jenny L. Holmes

Four broadband industry groups have filed suit against Maine in district court, asking for a Maine privacy law to be declared unconstitutional.

The 2019 Maine law requires internet service providers (ISPs) to obtain opt-in consent before "using, disclosing, selling, or permitting access" to customer data. The law also prohibits the ISPs from requiring such consent in the form of denial of service or charging penalty fees to customers who do not consent.

The ISP industry groups wrote: "Maine's decision to impose unique burdens on ISPs' speech—while ignoring the online and offline businesses that have and use the very same information and for the same and similar purposes as ISPs—represents discrimination between similarly situated speakers that is impermissible under the First Amendment." Nixon Peabody will be monitoring Maine's response and the developments in this case as it could impact many existing and contemplated state laws.

With states showing an increased interest in regulating online privacy, state and federal conflicts like this are likely to continue.

In October 2019, the Federal Communications Commission attempted to preempt all state net neutrality laws, an attempt that was blocked by the D.C. Circuit Court .

Tags: Privacy

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Jenny L. Holmes


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