Lawsuit to be Filed Next Week on Maine Children's Privacy Law
A coalition of companies and industry groups plans to file a lawsuit next week in federal court in Maine to challenge the Maine "Act to Prevent Predatory Marketing Practices Against Minors." That new law severely restricts the collection and use of "personal information" or "health-related information" from minors, presumably anyone under age 18. There are a number of serious constitutional problems with this new law, including First Amendment and dormant commerce clause concerns. In addition, there is a strong argument that the new law, which restricts all communications with minors, whether online or offline, is preempted by the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
ANA has been working with a coalition of marketers and other industry groups to determine how best to respond to this new legislation. There have been constructive meetings with the sponsor of the bill and the state Attorney General, who acknowledge serious problems with the law. However, the law takes effect on September 12th and the legislature is not scheduled to reconvene until January. The law contains a "bounty hunter" provision with a private right of action, so a lawsuit to enjoin the effective date is necessary.
Since this law would have serious implications for a number of our members who market products and services in Maine, ANA has committed $10,000 to help cover the costs of this lawsuit. Sufficient groups have also committed to support the lawsuit so that it will go forward, but there is still need for some further support. Therefore, we continue to encourage member companies and other groups to make a similar financial commitment.
We will keep you informed about further developments. If you have any comments or questions about the Maine law or the pending lawsuit, please contact Dan Jaffe (firstname.lastname@example.org) in ANA's Washington, DC office at 202-296-1883.