NEWS20 October 2009

Maine legislature votes to repeal child data law

Government North America

US— A committee of the Maine legislature has voted to repeal a privacy law that threatened the work of research agencies by prohibiting the sale or transfer of personal data about state residents aged under 18.

The law, entitled An Act to Prevent Predatory Marketing Practices Against Minors, was passed earlier this this year without opposition, but the Marketing Research Association lobbied against it last week, arguing that survey and opionion research should be exempt from the legislation.

MRA counsel LaToya Lang said at the time: “We call upon them to more carefully tailor the prohibition on transferring minors’ personally identifiable data to apply only to the intended target of the act: predatory marketing purposes.”

A judiciary committee convened last Friday to discuss the new law and examine the various objections to it. The meeting ended with a vote to repeal the legislation.

Senator Lawrence Bliss (pictured), chairman of the judiciary committee, told Research: “I think it’s very critical to report that the committee felt that this was an important issue that needs to be addressed, but that the current statute conflicts with existing Federal law, and there is no way to change the text to bring it into conformity.

“The committee felt that the best option would be to recommend that the existing statute be overturned, but that a new piece of legislation could move forward with some guiding parameters. Our report will list those parameters.”

Peggy Reinsch, the committee’s staff attorney, said that the legislature would release the report detailing the parameters for the new legislation in the near future.

A full list of the cases presented to the committee last week can be found here.