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The Omnibus Data Practices Bill containing League-sponsored Citizen Contact Information Protection provision must now be repassed by both bodies.
(Published May 10, 2013)
On May 9th a six-member conference committee completed work on the Omnibus Data Practices Bill, HF 695/SF 745, which contains the Citizen Contact Information Protection provision supported by the League of Minnesota Cities. The contact information provision was a stand-alone bill authored by Sen. Bev Scalze (DFL-Little Canada) and Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley) that was added to the omnibus bill.
The legislation will make email addresses and phone numbers submitted to cities by individuals private data, if they were submitted to receive notification or information of a general nature from the city. The conference committee took public testimony and amended the bill with language recommended by the Information and Policy Analysis Division (IPAD), which is the state office charged with administering data practices. The bill’s protections will extend to email addresses and phone numbers when received by a government entity for “notification purposes or as part of a subscription list for an entity’s electronic periodic publications.”
The new language will protect contact information used to send newsletters, crime data, agendas and meeting minutes, or other similar information sent by cities and state agencies to citizens who request such updates from their government. All of the content sent to citizens remains public.
Under current law, if a city collects an email address or phone number from a citizen, the email address becomes public data, and must be given to any person who asks for it. Email addresses and phone numbers can be used by solicitors, telemarketers, campaign organizations, or even by those attempting to scam citizens out of more sensitive personal information. The League believes that no citizen’s email address or phone number should have to be given to a third party simply because the citizen has asked the government to provide him or her with updates about city business or schedules.
The Senate and House must now adopt the conference committee report and repass the Omnibus Data Practices Bill as amended. If the bill is passed and signed into law by the Governor, the contact information protection provision becomes effective immediately.
Questions? Contact Patrick Hynes at email@example.com or at (651) 281-1260.
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