Citizen data protection bill still alive this session

To the editor –
Early this session, I introduced SF 60 — a bill categorizing citizen email addresses given to cities as private data. As an independent bill, the legislation was met with some resistance. It was not until a second hearing in Judiciary that it passed on a split vote. While it was eventually successful in committee, the language of SF 60 is now stronger as part of the omnibus data practices bill (SF 745).
Since the bill’s introduction many cities, organizations, and individual residents have voiced support for the data privacy change. Citizens should not have to receive emails or phone calls from interest groups or other third parties simply because they requested information from their local government.
For example, imagine if your homebound grandmother calls city hall about Meals on Wheels. Now the city has captured her phone number. An outside party could then request her number from the city and call her for a reason wholly unrelated and perhaps inappropriate. Leaving this current data privacy law as-is will make citizens vulnerable to these harmful practices and reluctant to use their city’s services.
I believe the language of SF 60 strikes the right balance between maintaining government transparency while protecting a person’s private contact information.
The omnibus data privacy bill was recommended to pass on March 21 and it now heads to the Senate floor. I am pleased the language of SF 60 is part of this omnibus legislation. Citizens should not have to worry about their personal data being misused.

Senator Bev Scalze
Bev Scalze represents District 42, which includes portions of Ramsey County in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. She is also a business owner and artist. Sen. Scalze is the vice chair of the Capital Investment Committee.

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