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Maine Revised Statutes 10 § 1346 et seq

Enacted:  4.13.2006

Type of Data Covered: Computerized or electronic data. 

Is Breach Defined?

“Breach of the security of the system” or “security breach” means unauthorized acquisition, release or use of an individual’s computerized data that includes personal information that compromises the security, confidentiality or integrity of personal information of the individual maintained by a person. Good faith acquisition, release or use of personal information by an employee or agent of a person on behalf of the person is not a breach of the security of the system if the personal information is not used for or subject to further unauthorized disclosure to another person."

When is notice required?

Notice provisions in §1348 govern when notice is given. The definitions of the statute allow written, electronic, and substitute notice, depending on the circumstances. Business will be keen to note that notice must be given to state regulators and if the breach affects over 1,000 residents, then consumer reporting agencies must be notified as well. §1348 is quoted below:

  • "1.  Notification to residents.  The following provisions apply to notification to residents by information brokers and other persons.

    • A.  If an information broker that maintains computerized data that includes personal information becomes aware of a breach of the security of the system, the information broker shall conduct in good faith a reasonable and prompt investigation to determine the likelihood that personal information has been or will be misused and shall give notice of a breach of the security of the system following discovery or notification of the security breach to a resident of this State whose personal information has been, or is reasonably believed to have been, acquired by an unauthorized person.

    • B.  If any other person who maintains computerized data that includes personal information becomes aware of a breach of the security of the system, the person shall conduct in good faith a reasonable and prompt investigation to determine the likelihood that personal information has been or will be misused and shall give notice of a breach of the security of the system following discovery or notification of the security breach to a resident of this State if misuse of the personal information has occurred or if it is reasonably possible that misuse will occur.

    • The notices required under paragraphs A and B must be made as expediently as possible and without unreasonable delay, consistent with the legitimate needs of law enforcement pursuant to subsection 3 or with measures necessary to determine the scope of the security breach and restore the reasonable integrity, security and confidentiality of the data in the system.

  • 2.  Notification to person maintaining personal information.  A 3rd-party entity that maintains, on behalf of a person, computerized data that includes personal information that the 3rd-party entity does not own shall notify the person maintaining personal information of a breach of the security of the system immediately following discovery if the personal information was, or is reasonably believed to have been, acquired by an unauthorized person.

  • 3.  Delay of notification; criminal investigation by law enforcement.  If, after the completion of an investigation required by subsection 1, notification is required under this section, the notification required by this section may be delayed for no longer than 7 business days after a law enforcement agency determines that the notification will not compromise a criminal investigation.

  • 4.  Notification to consumer reporting agencies.  If a person discovers a breach of the security of the system that requires notification to more than 1,000 persons at a single time, the person shall also notify, without unreasonable delay, consumer reporting agencies that compile and maintain files on consumers on a nationwide basis, as defined in 15 United States Code, Section 1681a(p). Notification must include the date of the breach, an estimate of the number of persons affected by the breach, if known, and the actual or anticipated date that persons were or will be notified of the breach.

  • 5.  Notification to state regulators.  When notice of a breach of the security of the system is required under subsection 1, the person shall notify the appropriate state regulators within the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, or if the person is not regulated by the department, the Attorney General."

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

Violations have their own section of the law, § 1349, which reads as follows: 

  • "1.  Enforcement.  The appropriate state regulators within the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation shall enforce this chapter for any person that is licensed or regulated by those regulators. The Attorney General shall enforce this chapter for all other persons.

  • 2.  Civil violation.  A person that violates this chapter commits a civil violation and is subject to one or more of the following:

    • A.  A fine of not more than $ 500 per violation, up to a maximum of $ 2,500 for each day the person is in violation of this chapter, except that this paragraph does not apply to State Government, the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System or Maine Maritime Academy;

    • B.  Equitable relief; or

    • C.  Enjoinment from further violations of this chapter.

  • 3.  Cumulative effect.  The rights and remedies available under this section are cumulative and do not affect or prevent rights and remedies available under federal or state law.

  • 4.  Exceptions.  A person that complies with the security breach notification requirements of rules, regulations, procedures or guidelines established pursuant to federal law or the law of this State is deemed to be in compliance with the requirements of section 1348 as long as the law, rules, regulations or guidelines provide for notification procedures at least as protective as the notification requirements of section 1348."