'If we don't have privacy online, we don't have privacy at all': Public hearing held on internet privacy bill

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - As internet use continues to grow in scope, so too does concern over online privacy.

State lawmakers are trying to give people more options to guard their privacy.

A bill sponsored by Sen. Shenna Bellows, D-Manchester, being debated would require Maine internet service providers to get consumers' consent before selling most personal data.

The data they currently collect and sell ranges from websites visited to locations.

Lawmakers say it's crucial for Mainers to have freedom and control online.

"Maine has often been first in the nation or one of the first states in the nation to set forward privacy protections into our law," said Bellows. "And I would just posit that if we don't have privacy online, we don't have privacy at all."

"As Maine legislators, we all know we cannot wait for Congress to act swiftly," said Sen. Stacey Guerin, R-Glenburn. "LD 946 will fill the gap created by the Congress restoring control of most personal and private data to the individual."

Similar legislation has been passed in California.