Today, CDT joined with the ACLU, the ACLU of Maine, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation to file a brief supporting the State of Maine in ACA Connects v. Frey.
The internet reveals deeply private information about individuals, from the contents of their communications to details about their finances, health, and exact location. Companies that sell broadband information access services (BIAS) are relied on by consumers for access to the Internet and also uniquely positioned to collect this sensitive information. Maine’s “Act to Protect the Privacy of Online Customer Information” (the Privacy Act) responds to this dilemma by giving users control over how BIAS providers use and disseminate their personal information.
Today’s brief urges the court to find that because the Privacy Act is narrowly drawn to directly advance Maine’s substantial interests in protecting consumers’ privacy, freedom of expression, and security, it should survive First Amendment scrutiny. The law aims squarely at its target: information derived from BIAS use, which is both sensitive and personal, and accessible to BIAS providers, who are uniquely positioned to view all online activity and face little if any market pressure. Moreover, the law does not fully prohibit the disclosure of customers’ personal information; it merely requires consent first— directly addressing the security and privacy problem of loss of control over one’s information.