The legislature in the US state of Maine has voted to repeal the privacy law intended to ‘Predatory Marketing Practices Against Minors’, following protests from a number of companies and industry bodies including MRA.
Two weeks ago MRA (the Marketing Research Association) asked the state’s Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary to exempt survey and opinion research from the law, which attempted to prohibit the collecting, analyzing or storing of data on persons under 18 years of age. However, the committee decided on Friday that the law more generally contravened rights under the federal First Amendment as well as having a negative effect on interstate commerce.
The Act disallowed companies from knowingly gathering personal or health-related information of minors without parental consent, and took effect six weeks ago. Groups like the Association of National Advertisers and online industry advocate NetChoice were among the orginal opponents of the Act.
The bill was originally passed without opposition, but was then challenged in court by the Maine Independent Colleges Association, Maine Press Association, Reed Elsevier and NetChoice. Last month, Attorney General Janet Mills said she would not going to enforce the act, but District Court Judge John Woodcock said in his dismissal order said it was probably unconstitutional anyway.
The law is likely to resurface in diluted form: the committee’s staff attorney Peggy Reinsch said legislators ‘wanted to applaud the original intent of the bill’ and added that a more limited measure may be penned, focusing on minors’ health-related information.