When the Equifax data breach occurred, 240,000 Vermonters received notice that their information had been compromised. Equifax’s initial response—which among other things required people to waive their legal rights—did not inspire great confidence in the public. And legislators were justifiably angry.
But people make mistakes when they’re angry, and when the First Amendment is involved, those mistakes can be expensive. Not so long ago, the legislature was convinced that it could regulate information in the same way as “beef jerky.” Both liberal and conservative justices of the Supreme Court told them they were wrong. As a result, Vermont spent $4 million and was forced to pay approximately $2.22 million in attorneys’ fees.
History is about to repeat itself.
The Vermont Senate is now considering legislation that requires provocatively named “data brokers” to register with the state and co ...