A new Maine law aimed at protecting minors in Maine under 18 years of age prohibits any transfer of their personally identifiable information. CMOR, a division of the Marketing Research Association, warns that this law could impact any research organization, no matter where they are located, that collects, analyzes or stores data on a Maine resident under the age of 18, and could subject them to private lawsuits for any violation.

As MRA explained in their August Legislative Update, Maine’s LD 1183, the Prevent Predatory Marketing Practices Against Minors Act, prohibits the sale, offer for sale or transfer of health-related or personal information about a minor if that information is personally identifiable, was collected for marketing purposes without verifiable parental consent or will be used for “predatory marketing” purposes. The law came into effect on September 12, 2009.

“Researchers everywhere should check their data sets and research plans to ensure they comply with the strictures of this new law. Although the Maine Attorney General has said she will not enforce the law, any violator is still potentially open to private civil suits, including those sharing data between companies as part of the research process,” said LaToya Lang, Counsel for MRA.

MRA is coordinating with allies across dozens of industries to fix LD 1183, bring clarity to its definitions and protect the research process.

As Lang points out, “The Maine legislature passed LD 1183 into law with last-minute unconsidered changes. Even more troubling are the misconceptions of the law’s sponsor, who seems to have confused research with marketing in her statements to the media. CMOR will work with Maine legislators and volunteers in the research profession on the ground to resolve the problems in this law.”

Researchers residing in Maine are encouraged to contact MRA to assist in this advocacy campaign.