Maryland passes two major privacy bills, despite tech industry opposition – Tech News (Trending Perfect)


The Maryland Legislature this weekend passed two sweeping privacy bills aimed at restricting the extent to which powerful tech platforms can collect and use the personal data of consumers and young people — despite strong objections from industry trade groups representing giants like Amazon, Google and Meta.

one bill, Maryland Online Data Privacy Act, would impose broad restrictions on how companies collect and use consumers' personal data in the state. the other, Maryland Children's Lawwould prevent some social media, video games and other online platforms from tracking people under 18 and from using manipulative techniques — such as autoplaying videos or sending push notifications to children — to keep young people glued to the Internet.

“We are making a statement to the tech industry and to the people of Maryland that we need to rein in some of this data collection,” the delegate said. sarah love, Democratic member of the Maryland House of Delegates. Ms. Love, who sponsored the consumer bill and co-sponsored the children's bill, called the passage of the two measures a “huge” achievement for privacy, adding: “We need to put some guardrails in place to protect consumers.”

The new rules require approval from Maryland's Democratic Governor Wes Moore, who has not taken a public position on the measures.

With the passage of the bills, Maryland joins a small number of states including California, Connecticut, Texas and Utah that have enacted comprehensive online privacy legislation and children's privacy or social media safeguards. But the technology industry has challenged some new laws.

Over the past year, NetChoice, the technology industry The trade group that represents AmazonGoogle and Meta have successfully sued to stop children's online privacy or social media restrictions in several states, arguing that the laws violate their members' constitutional rights to freely distribute information.

NetChoice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Maryland's law for children is designed based on a 2022 California law, called the Age-Appropriate Design Law. Like California's law, Maryland's bill would require some social media and video game platforms to turn on the highest privacy settings by default for minors. It would also prohibit services from unnecessarily profiling minors and collecting their precise locations.

However, a federal judge in California temporarily blocked that state's children's law, ruling in favor of NetChoice on free speech grounds. (The New York Times and the Student Press Law Center filed a joint complaint Amicus curiae brief Last year in California in support of NetChoice, arguing that the law could limit newsworthy content available to students.)

NetChoice similarly objected to the Maryland Children's Act. in Last year's certificate Opposing an earlier version of the bill, Karl Szabo, general counsel for NetChoice, said it infringes on the rights of companies to freely distribute information as well as the rights of minors and adults to obtain information freely.

Maryland lawmakers say they have since worked with constitutional experts and amended it to address free speech concerns. The bill was approved unanimously.

“We are technically the second state to pass the Children's Act,” the delegate said. Jared Solomon, a Democratic state legislator who sponsored the Children's Act bill. “But we hope to be the first state to withstand the inevitable judicial challenge we know is coming.”

Several other tech trade groups strongly opposed the other bill passed Saturday, Maryland's Online Data Privacy Act.

This bill would require companies to reduce the data they collect about consumers online. It will also prohibit online services from collecting or sharing intimate personal information — such as data related to race, religion, health, sexual orientation, precise location, biometrics, or immigration status — unless it is “absolutely necessary.”



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