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Maine Senate fails to pass what would have been strongest US data privacy law
18 April 2024
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LD 1977 was advocated by ACLU but opposed by industry groups

Maine Senate fails to pass Data Privacy Act

In a 15-18 vote yesterday, the Maine Senate ended the chances of LD 1977 becoming law in the current legislative session. The Maine House had approved the bill on a 75-70 vote on Tuesday.

Had it passed, the Maine Data Privacy and Protection Act would have become the strongest data privacy law in the US.

Similar legislation at the Federal level - the American Data Privacy and Protection Act - in 2022 failed to be enacted by Congress.

A new piece of Federal legislation which could pre-empt anything passed by States - the American Privacy Rights Act (APRA) - was unveiled this week. The APRA largely mirrors Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and would for the first time introduce Federal enforcement into the mix of US state laws. Also the APRA in its current form includes a "private rights of action" provision that would enable consumers to bring civil suits against companies. (A similar provision was removed from LD 1977 by amendment.)

ACLU of Maine had advocated for LD1977 because of its potential for enhancing consumer data privacy, but most private-sector industry groups had opposed it because of the legislation's potential to impact adversely the use of targeted advertising - via Search and Social Media technology platforms - by Maine businesses.

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