An Act To Prevent Predatory Marketing Practices against Minors Regarding Data Concerning Health Care Issues
Sec. 1. 10 MRSA c. 1055 is enacted to read:
MARKETING AND DATA COLLECTION PRACTICES
§ 9521. Definitions
As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
§ 9522. Unlawful collection and use of data from minors
§ 9523. Predatory marketing against minors prohibited
A person may not use any health-related information regarding a minor obtained over the Internet or any wireless communications device for the purpose of marketing a product or service to that minor or promoting any course of action for the minor relating to a product. Use of information in violation of this section constitutes predatory marketing.
§ 9524. Enforcement
If the court finds there has been a violation of this chapter, the court shall award the petitioner reasonable attorney's fees and costs incurred in connection with the action.
If the court finds that the defendant willfully or knowingly violated this chapter, the court may, in its discretion, increase the amount of the award to an amount equal to not more than 3 times the amount available under paragraph B.
This bill addresses the current practices of persons using the Internet and other wireless communications devices, with or without promotional incentives, to acquire health-related information about minors and then using that information unscrupulously. Under this bill, it is unlawful to solicit or collect health-related information about a minor who is not emancipated without the express written consent of the minor's parent or guardian, to transfer any health-related information that identifies a minor or to use any of that information to market a product or service to a minor regardless of whether or not the information was lawfully obtained. Unlawful marketing includes promoting a course of action relating to a product. The bill provides 3 potential remedies for a violation: relief as an unfair trade practice, a private right of action and a civil violation with substantial monetary fines.