MN response to online privacy? State policymakers step in with protection

Congress recently moved to overturn online privacy protections.  So how did Minnesota policymakers respond? They moved swiftly in the House and Senate to add protection at the State level. It’s not a done deal yet but it’s moving through the process. The Twin Cities Pioneer Press reports…

In a surprise move, the Minnesota Senate on Wednesday voted to bar internet service providers from selling their users’ personal data without express written consent.

Sounds like it got exciting…

Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, offered the amendment onto the Senate’s economic development budget bill, saying it was urgently needed to protect Minnesotans’ privacy after the congressional vote. …

Latz’s amendment was challenged under Senate rules on the grounds that it would impose a cost on a state agency and thus needed to go through committee rather than be added on the floor. Such challenges are usually routine, party-line affairs. But Republicans have just a one-vote majority in the Senate, and nothing is routine when any lawmaker has the potential to swing a vote.

Republican Sen. Warren Limmer, of Maple Grove, broke with his party to overturn the Senate president’s ruling and allow the internet privacy amendment to continue by a single vote.

The House move was easier…

With the privacy amendment attached, it passed the Senate 58-9. It now must be reconciled with the House’s version, which had a similar internet privacy provision added Tuesday with less drama.

This entry was posted in MN, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

2 thoughts on “MN response to online privacy? State policymakers step in with protection

  1. Is there a small company exemption, just like the FCC imposed prior to the Congressional vote? And, will this apply to content owners like Facebook, Google and Apple, who sell customer information as part of their business revenue strategy without restrictions? Or just ISP’s? I’m afraid I know the answer.

  2. You’re asking about the MN versions I assume?
    Here’s the version from the Senate (which may change based on the House version)
    1.4 No telecommunications or internet service provider that has entered into a franchise
    1.5 agreement, right-of-way agreement, or other contract with the state of Minnesota or a
    1.6 political subdivision, or that uses facilities that are subject to such agreements, even if it is
    1.7 not a party to the agreement, may collect personal information from a customer resulting
    1.8 from the customer’s use of the telecommunications or internet service provider without
    1.9 express written approval from the customer. No such telecommunication or internet service
    1.10 provider shall refuse to provide its services to a customer on the grounds that the customer
    1.11 has not approved collection of the customer’s personal information.

    So it looks like only providers. So if Google decided to enter a MN market, it would apply. Based on the services they currently provide in MN, it doesn’t.

    I don’t see anything on “small company exceptions” – if you work with the State (via permits or contracts) it seems as if you are included here.

    That being said, I’m a librarian – not a lawyer.

    I have had the conversation with folks in the last week – reminding them that the companies you mention have revenue streams that stem from using/selling customer information. Although knowingly or not, most user sign opt-in to that agreement when signing up for services.

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