On May 30, 2019, the Maine House and Senate passed a bill (L.D. 946) that will place restrictions on broadband Internet service providers from selling customer data without the customer’s affirmative consent. The bill will apply to providers operating within Maine in connection with the broadband Internet access services they provide to customers who are physically located and billed for service received in Maine.

The bill will prohibit, subject to certain exceptions, broadband providers from using, disclosing, selling or permitting access to customer personal information without a customer’s express, affirmative consent.  Among other exceptions, the bill will allow broadband providers to use, disclose, sell or permit access to customer personal information without customer approval to:

  • provide the service from which such information is derived;
  • advertise or market the provider’s communications-related services to the customer;
  • comply with a lawful court order;
  • initiate, render, bill for and collect payment for broadband Internet access service;
  • protect users of the provider’s or other providers’ services from fraudulent, abusive or unlawful use of or subscription to such services; and
  • provide geolocation information concerning the customer in connection with certain enumerated emergency and safety services and situations.

The bill will prevent broadband providers from refusing service to customers who do not provide their consent or from charging a penalty or offering a discount based on the customer’s choice. Under the bill, a provider also must provide a notice disclosing its obligations and the customer’s rights to each customer at the point of sale and on its publicly accessible website. In addition, the bill will require broadband providers to take reasonable measures to protect customer personal information from unauthorized use, disclosure or access.

The bill will now head to the Maine governor’s office for approval. If signed, the bill’s enactment date is set for July 1, 2020.