The WSJ reports that politicians in Maine have figured out that the new Maine law prohibiting collecting information from teenagers without parental permission is badly written and has a lot of problems.
The Attorney General has decided not to enforce the law as it stands. The law does contain private right of action, so there may be private suits filed against companies.
I can’t necessarily fault the state senator who drafted the legislation for her intentions.
The law was drafted by Maine state senator Elizabeth Schneider, who said that she tried to align the legislation in accordance with COPPA. She wanted to expand protection for minors after she attended a national conference on prescription drugs and was shocked to learn about some of the techniques companies use to mine information from adolescents, including giving away toys and iPods in exchange for filling out surveys.
She attributes the bill’s problems to the fact that no one showed up to the public hearing about it, where problematic portions could have been discussed and reworded. “I believed that room would be filled with people in opposition to the bill,” she said. “Nobody turned out in opposition to the legislation.”
Good intentions with the bill, protecting minors from predatory marketers. Whether or not the blame is actually on the people who failed to oppose the bill is not nearly as obvious to me.
Here is hoping that the new legislation that Sen. Schneider plans to craft during the next legislative session actually accomplishes her goals.