Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed into law one of the nation's strongest privacy bills on Thursday, banning internet service providers (ISPs) from using, selling or distributing consumer data without their consent.

The Act to Protect the Privacy of Online Consumer Information would prohibit any ISPs in Maine from refusing to serve a customer, penalizing them or offering a discount in order to pressure consumers into allowing the ISP to sell their data. The law will take effect on July 1.

Maine is one of the first states to take that step after California passed its own strict privacy law last year, setting off a flurry of industry lobbying and praise from privacy activists.

Maine's law, passed amid pushback from top ISPs, is geared toward those such as AT&T and Spectrum. California's law, meanwhile, also applies to tech companies including Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook.

Some privacy activists have described the Maine law as even stronger than California's because it mandates that ISPs require explicit consent from customers to sell their personal data, while the California law requires consumers to request that their data not be sold by their own volition.

Mills described the new law as “common sense,” adding that “Maine people value their privacy, online and off.”

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