Maine and Nevada Sign into Law Consumer Privacy Laws
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which goes into effect January 1, 2020, is considered the most robust state privacy law in the United States. The CCPA seems to have spurred a flood of similar legislative proposals on the state level, and started a shift in the consumer privacy law landscape. Many of these proposals end up dying somewhere along the rigorous legislative process, but in the last few weeks both Maine and Nevada signed into law bills that, although much more narrow than the CCPA, certainly bear resemblance.
Maine Governor Janet Mills recently signed into law the Act to Protect the Privacy of Online Consumer Information, LD 946, which imposes data privacy requirements on Internet service providers (ISPs). This law requires ISPs to obtain customer consent before “using, disclosing, selling or permitting access” to their data with a third party. In addition, an ISP is prohibited from refusing to serve a customer based on their refusal to consent to the data usage terms. Finally, ISPs will also be required to take “reasonable measures” to protect customer personal information from “unauthorized use, disclosure, sale or access”. The law is applicable to all ISPs that service customers physically based and billed for within the State. The Maine law will take effect July 1, 2020.
In late May, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed into law an act relating to Internet privacy, SB 220. Nevada’s new law prohibits an operator of an Internet website or online service which collects “covered information” from consumers from selling that information to a third party without prior consent. “Covered information” is limited to “personally identifiable information” which includes a first and last name, home or other physical address, e-mail address, telephone number, social security number, an identifier that allows a specific person to be contacted either physically or online, and any other information concerning a person collected from the person through the Internet website or online service of the operator and maintained by the operator in combination with an identifier in a form that makes the information personally identifiable. The law takes a limited approach to “sale” which is defined as “the exchange of covered information for monetary consideration by the operator to a person for the person to license or sell the covered information to additional persons”. The law includes several exemptions including financial institutions subject to GLBA, institutions subject to HIPAA, motor vehicle manufacturers and third parties that host or manage Internet websites or online services on behalf of their owners. Notably, the Nevada law will take effect October 1, 2019 (sooner than the CCPA, which becomes effective January 1, 2020).
While both the Maine and Nevada law are much more limited in scope than the CCPA, these types of laws signify how complicated the patchwork of laws will become as more states enact their own privacy laws which are inconsistent and often include mutually exclusive requirements from one another. Other states that are considering or have recently considered consumer privacy legislation include Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas and Washington. Needless to say, the compliance challenges for affected organizations will only continue to grow with the passage of each state bill.