It’s essential for states to assess how their laws may impact sharing of information on the Internet and the online community in general.
A District Court in the US recently turned down the possible enforcement of a law to restrict the collection of information from minors about their personal health. Attorneys of both parties were of the opinion that the law passed by the Legislature in the previous session could restrict the right to free speech as per the first amendment to the US Constitution.
The crux of the matter was how much scope could be provided for people to seek personal information from minors. The law was introduced in the Legislature by Senator Elizabeth Schneider. As per the law, any entity soliciting personal information from minors should have a prior approval by the parents.
The plaintiffs, Maine Independent Colleges Association, the Maine Press Association, NetChoice and Reed Elsevier, believed that the law goes beyond restricting of health data collection. In which case, it would also restrict the collection of basic information such as name and address.
Maine Attorney General, Janet Mills, stated clearly that her office would not enforce a law of this kind till it was revised by the Legislature. Justice John Woodcock echoed these views in his orders and also stated that any suits stated under the law would have constitutional weaknesses highlighted by the Maine Attorney General.
Laws introduced by states for protecting minors usually affect the emailing of their health information. We at Benchmark Email, without fail, keep track of such issues so that we can cater to the needs of the people, within the legal framework.
Laws for online businesses and sharing of information on the Internet, come with a range of underlying dynamics. For this reason, it’s better to let the federal government handle them. Such laws are introduced with a view to prevent any violation of privacy and the cause is certainly noble.
However, the onus lies with the states to ensure that such laws do not take a toll on freedom of speech and expression.