Maine Enacts the Nation’s Strictest Internet Privacy Bill

Maine now has the strictest data privacy standard in the country.

Maine now has the strictest data privacy standard in the country. Jeff Fusco/Comcast for AP Images


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STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Oregon lawmakers push for year-round daylight savings … Phoenix bans feeding pigeons … Boston grants permit for “straight pride” parade.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills has signed a bill that will make it illegal for internet service providers and telecommunication companies that provide internet access through cellular networks to sell user’s private data without their consent, making it the strictest consumer privacy standard in the country. Going into effect on July 1, 2020, the law will require companies to seek the permission of their customers before they share any personal data with a third party. “With this common-sense law, Maine people can access the internet with the knowledge and comfort that their personal information cannot be bought or sold by their ISPs without their express approval,” said Mills. Opponents said the state law conflicts with federal law, and will likely be challenged in court. Christina Fisher, executive director in the Northeast for TechNet, a coalition of tech companies, said that creating new standards in Maine “risks disrupting a significant portion of the state’s innovation economy and would have major unintended consequences for consumers and businesses as ISPs are forced to adjust their investment and technology deployment plans based on a singular set of rules for the state.” Though California has a similar law on the books, which is slated to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, it requires users to ask their ISP not to sell their data, instead of requiring ISPs to ask permission before selling user data. Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey said he is ready to defend the law in federal court. [Portland Press-Herald; The Hill]

DAYLIGHT SAVING | Lawmakers in Oregon have passed a bill that would make daylight saving time a permanent fixture in the state, and Gov. Kate Brown has said she will sign it. The bill contains a provision, however, that the change will only take effect if both Washington and California adopt the same practice. Washington has already approved a bill, and California is still considering it. If all three states pass the measure, they will also need congressional approval to make the change. State Rep. Werner Reschke was part of the bipartisan opposition concerned about later sunrises in the winter. “It’s winter that concerns me. Shifting the daylight hours to be later in the day and away from the morning when children are going to school, which – if this bill passes – will be in the dark,” said Reschke. "To those who worry about whether we can adapt to the dark, I would suggest you look at Alaska," said Rep. John Lively. [KLCC; The Oregonian]

PIGEONS | The Phoenix city council passed a bill that institutes a hefty fine ranging from $150 to $2,500 for citizens who feed pigeons. The bill is the culmination of a seven-year fight between neighbors over whether one individual has the right to feed hundreds of birds in a city park every day. "Everything that I've owned for the last seven years has been pasted on a daily basis. It's disgusting and we've fought and begged for seven years for this day to come,” said Keith Busby, whose home is under the pigeons’ flight path to the park. The pigeon-feeding neighbor in question, Randall Hunsaker, said that he doesn’t understand why pigeons flock to his neighborhood, and claimed he was not the reason for their arrival. "How can you blame just one person? I don't know what to tell you, they all live in these trees along the street,” he told ABC Arizona. Shortly after, the journalist who interviewed him saw him feeding pigeons in the park. [ABC Arizona; FOX Arizona]

STRAIGHT PRIDE PARADE | A few days before the Boston LGBTQ Pride parade was set to take place, Mayor Marty Walsh said that the city cannot deny a permit to a mirror “straight pride” parade proposed for August. The group sponsoring the parade is led by John Hugo, a Republican who lost a Massachusetts congressional race last year. On their website, the group says that they are “committed to creating spaces for people of all identities to embrace the vibrancy of the straight community." The group also adopted Brad Pitt, who they refer to as "a hero to straight men all around the world" as their mascot, until the actor’s lawyers issued a cease and desist order. The mayor said that “permits to host a public event are granted based on operational feasibility, not based on values or endorsements of belief,” but that “whatever outside groups may try to do, our values won’t change.” [; USA TODAY; CBS Boston]

THREATENING EMAILS | A man was arrested last week and accused of repeatedly sending emails to the mayor of Sioux Falls, South Dakota that threatened him and his family. Christopher Bruce was a regular at city council meetings to voice his complaints over 5G technology. In his latest message, he warned that "you guys may want to re-familiarize yourselves with what's been going on in my blog of late...because things are about to get can most certainly fight City Hall; you just need a bigger gun, better bullets, and bulletproof armor." Bruce has also allegedly sent several threatening emails to city council members since November 2018. [Sioux Falls Argus Leader; KELO]

Emma Coleman is the assistant editor for Route Fifty.

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