NEWS12 October 2009

MRA lobbies for exemption from Maine child data law

Legal North America

US— The Marketing Research Association (MRA) is lobbying to exempt research from a law in Maine that prohibits the sale or transfer of personal data about state residents under the age of 18.

The industry body says it has written to the state’s Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary, which has been reconvened ahead of schedule for a special meeting on Thursday and Friday.

MRA has asked for survey and opinion research to be exempt from the data transfer prohibitions of the law, which applies to health-related or personal information about a minor if it is personally identifiable, was collected for marketing purposes without verifiable parental consent or will be used for so-called “predatory marketing” purposes.

Although Maine’s attorney general has agreed not to enforce the law as it stands, organisations that contravene the act could still be hit with private lawsuits.

MRA counsel LaToya Lang said: “MRA applauds the efforts of the legislature in reconsidering the harmful provisions of this law. 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.”