Internet Data Privacy in Montana, New Legislation
Montana’s Governmental Internet Information Privacy Act is an internet data privacy law that was enacted in 2019. The law was passed for the purpose of protecting the personal privacy, information, and internet accessibility of consumers residing within the state of Montana. Furthermore, the law mandates that internet service providers serving consumers within the state of Montana obtain consent from said consumers prior to collecting, storing, or disclosing their personal information. With all this being said, the law establishes a number of responsibilities that internet service providers must comply with when operating within the state.
How is personal information defined under the law?
Under Montana’s Governmental Internet Information Privacy Act, the definition of personal information includes but is not limited to:
- Name and billing information.
- Social security number.
- Drivers license.
- State identification card.
- Passport information.
- Postal address.
- Email address.
- Demographic information.
- Medical and healthcare information.
- Credit history.
- History of online purchases.
What are the duties of internet service providers under the law?
Montana’s Governmental Internet Information Privacy Act charges internet service providers within adhering to the following data privacy requirements when providing their respective services to residents within the state:
- The mechanisms that internet service providers use to obtain consent from residents within Montana must be clear, conspicuous, and readily available to customers at all times. Moreover, these mechanisms must also allow customers to grant, revise, deny, or revoke their consent at any time.
- When a customer within Montana makes a choice regarding their consent to having their personal information collected by an internet service provider, the provider in question must ensure that such choices remain in full effect until changed by said customer.
- Internet service providers are prohibited from refusing to provide a customer with service or charging additional fees in response to their decision as it pertains to the collection, storage, and dissemination of their personal information.
- Internet service providers are prohibited from using, disclosing, selling, or permitting access to a customer’s personally identifiable information without their expressed opt-in consent, subject to certain exceptions. Such exceptions include instances where an internet service provider discloses a customer’s personal information in order to comply with a court order or legal requirements, as well as to provide a customer with internet service, among others.
- Internet service providers are prohibited from asking a customer to waive their rights as defined under the law.
- Internet service providers are prohibited from using personal information obtained from the customers to engage in targeted advertising or marketing activities without their consent.
How are the provisions of the law enforced?
With regard to the enforcement of Montana’s Governmental Internet Information Privacy Act, the provisions set forth in the law are enforced by the Montana Department of Justice. To this point, internet service providers that fail to comply with the law are subject to a number of sanctions and penalties. Most notably, internet service providers operating within the state that are found to be in violation of a law are subject to a monetary penalty of up to $10,000 per violation. What’s more, the Montana Department of Justice also has the authority to impose a temporary restraining order or permanent injunction against internet service providers that fail to abide by the law.
As internet service continues to play a pivotal role in the vast majority of societies around the world, the personal information that customers provide to their internet service providers must be safeguarded at all times. While it may slip the minds of many people, internet service providers will have a wide range of personal information concerning their customers at their disposal at any given time. Subsequently, Montana’s Governmental Internet Information Privacy Act provides residents of the state with the means to protect the personal information they provide to service providers when looking to use the internet.