Today, Judge Walker of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine denied internet service providers’ (ISP) motion for judgment on the pleadings in ACA Connects v. Frey, the ISP’s challenge to the Maine broadband privacy law. (Access Now submitted an amicus brief in this case.)
The ISPs argued Maine’s broadband privacy law should be struck down because it is preempted by federal law, violates the first amendment rights of ISPs, and is too vague. In a huge victory for the people of Maine, the Judge rejected all arguments outright. Importantly, the judge correctly applied intermediate scrutiny to the law rather than the higher strict scrutiny as requested by ISPs, meaning the law was and is less likely to run afoul of the First Amendment. While the case is still in its early stages, this is a welcome decision. The case now proceeds to discovery and potentially a trial.
“The people of Maine can rest a little easier knowing that their broadband privacy rights were not overturned today,” said Eric Null, U.S. Policy Manager at Access Now. “ISPs are trying every trick in the book to weasel their way out of having to protect their customers’ privacy, but the judge did not fall for their shenanigans. Rather than fight privacy laws, ISPs should welcome them and comply given how important privacy is to the American people.”