Governor Moore Signs Maryland Online Data Privacy Act

May 9, 2024

Governor Wes Moore signed the Maryland Online Data Privacy Act today. This law marks a significant shift in state privacy law landscape toward laws that meaningfully limit personal data collection and abuse. 

EPIC testified in support of the bill in both the House and Senate earlier this spring, and attended the bill signing today. The bill had been sponsored by Delegate Sara Love and Senator Dawn Gile.

“The Maryland Online Data Privacy Act sets a new standard for state privacy laws,” Caitriona Fitzgerald, Deputy Director at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) said. “It requires companies to limit the data they collect to better align with consumers’ expectations and creates strong civil rights protections online. EPIC commends the sponsors, Delegate Sara Love and Senator Dawn Gile, for their incredible work on this strong privacy bill.”

Last year, EPIC crafted the State Data Privacy and Protection Act, modeled on American Data Privacy and Protection Act (“ADPPA”), to give state legislators the opportunity to use the bipartisan consensus language from ADPPA to strengthen state bills. The Maryland Online Data Privacy Act pulls key data minimization principles and strong civil rights protections from that model. The Act’s data minimization requirements include limiting the collection of personal data to what is reasonably necessary for the product or service requested by a consumer, prohibits the sale of sensitive personal data, bans targeted advertising to kids and teens, and prohibits the processing of personal data in ways that discriminate.  

EPIC recently released The State of Privacy: How State “Privacy” Laws Fail to Protect Privacy and What They Can Do Better, which found that nearly half of the 14 states that have passed so-called comprehensive privacy laws received a failing grade, and none received an A. Last week, Delegate Love testified to a Committee in the Vermont Legislature about just how much money and effort national lobbyists spent trying to weaken her privacy bill:

“I will tell you, I have not in my six years, in my second term, seen as hard a lobbying job as these folks did. They put so much money into pushing and lobbying,” Del. Love said. “The more they pushed, the more we said — and not just me, also other legislators said — ‘Enough. We’re going to pass something that matters.

Maryland’s law breaks the trend of states passing weak, industry-backed laws and instead provides Marylanders with some of the strongest privacy protections in the country.  

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