A new Maine law, which takes effect in September, is intended to restrict the collection and use for marketing purposes of personal information about minors under the age of 18.
The law defines "personal information" as a minor's first name (or initial) and last name or address, or driver's license number, in combination with any other information about the minor, and prohibits the collection of such information for marketing purposes without first obtaining verifiable parental consent. This means, for example, that a business could not collect a minor's name (for marketing purposes) without first obtaining parental consent either online or offline-rather unrealistic in today's world. Nor could the website transfer/sell any personal information about the teenager if the information (1) was obtained without parental consent or (2) identifies the minor.
Maine law permits class actions under the law, and nothing about the law purports to limit its scope to residents of Maine. With statutory damages of up to $250 per violation, clients operating in Maine, or collecting personal information from websites accessible by Maine residents, should consider the risk of their potential exposure.