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House Civil Law committee will hear legislation in response to citizen concerns regarding third party requests for contact information.
(Published Jan 18, 2013)
A League of Minnesota Cities endorsed bill to protect the privacy of citizen contact information has been introduced in both the House and the Senate and will be heard in the House Civil Law committee on Tuesday, January 22 at 8:15 a.m. HF 20/SF 60 would make email addresses and phone numbers submitted by citizens to all levels of government private data to prevent third parties from being able to obtain these lists. Currently when a citizen submits contact information to a government agency in order to receive newsletters, crime alerts, or other information, all of the email addresses and phone numbers maintained by the government agency are public data. This means that any third party can request the data and use it for any purpose. During the last election cycle, several cities received requests for citizen email addresses resulting in unexpected and unwelcomed email solicitation. Cities responded to citizen complaints and brought this issue to LMC. During the 2012 policy committee process, the human resources and data practices policy committee adopted DP-2 “Data Requests for Citizen Contact Information” (page 81 of the 2013 City Policies) stating that the Legislature should amend the Data Practices Act to make citizen contact information not accessible to the public.
The House bill is authored by freshman representative and former Golden Valley city councilmember Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley). The lead author in the Senate is former Little Canada city councilmember Bev Scalze (DFL-Little Canada). Both the Senate and House versions have bipartisan support.
Questions? Contact Patrick Hynes at (651) 281-1260 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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