My prediction is that they will do this again, and say that the first amendment protects ISP’s rights to resell your browser history:
The US state of Maine is violating internet broadband providers’ free speech by forcing them to ask for their customers’ permission to sell their browser history, according to a new lawsuit.
ACA Connects, CTIA, NCTA and USTelecom are collectively suing [PDF] Maine’s attorney general Aaron Frey, and the chair and commissioners of Maine’s Public Utilities Commission claiming that the statute, passed in June 2019, “imposes unprecedented and unduly burdensome restrictions on ISPs’, and only ISPs’, protected speech.”
How so? Because it includes “restrictions on how ISPs communicate with their own customers that are not remotely tailored to protecting consumer privacy.” The lawsuit even explains that there is a “proper way to protect consumer privacy” – and that’s the way the FCC does it, through “technology-neutral, uniform regulation.” Although that regulation is actually the lack of regulation.
If you’re still having a hard time understanding how requiring companies to get their customers’ permission before they sell their personal data infringes the First Amendment, the lawsuit has more details.
It “(1) requires ISPs to secure ‘opt-in’ consent from their customers before using information that is not sensitive in nature or even personally identifying; (2) imposes an opt-out consent obligation on using data that are by definition not customer personal information; (3) limits ISPs from advertising or marketing non-communications-related services to their customers; and (4) prohibits ISPs from offering price discounts, rewards in loyalty programs, or other cost saving benefits in exchange for a customer’s consent to use their personal information.”
All of this results in an “excessive burden” on ISPs, they claim, especially because not everyone else had to do the same. The new statute includes “no restrictions at all on the use, disclosure, or sale of customer personal information, whether sensitive or not, by the many other entities in the Internet ecosystem or traditional brick-and-mortar retailers,” the lawsuit complains.
Listen, I think that we should get some stakes, honey, and a few anthills of REALLY pissed off ants, and have a heart to heart with the senior executives of ACA Connects, CTIA, NCTA and USTelecom.
Perhaps we should bring in their lawyers for a consult as well.