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House Passes Landmark Legislation to Improve Data Privacy

Friday, May 10, 2024

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota House passed the Minnesota Consumer Data Privacy Act, HF 2309, as a part of the House Agriculture/Commerce/Energy Supplemental Budget. Authored by Rep. Steve Elkins (DFL - Bloomington), the legislation would grant consumers the right to prevent their data from being sold or used to target advertising at them. In the case of sensitive personal data, including location data, companies would have to secure your permission in advance before using it in this manner. Otherwise, consumers would be able to opt-out of using their data for these purposes and the bill anticipates the advent of a “universal opt-out” option that is being built into web browsers.

“After working on this bill for five years I’m confident that this is some of the strongest legislation to protect consumer data in the nation,” said Rep. Elkins. “I’m proud of the final state of this legislation, and I am confident that the over one hundred stakeholders involved in this work will be able to implement these new regulations effectively. I would like to thank everyone who has helped me get this bill to this point. I look forward to seeing it cross the finish line when it reaches the Governor’s desk.

Consumers would have the right to know what data a company has about them, to obtain a copy of that data; to have errors corrected, and to have their data deleted. They would be able to opt out of having their data used to “profile” them using automated decision-making processes.

Companies would be required to publish a plain English description of their privacy policies, protect the privacy of the consumer data in their possession, limit their collection of consumer data to that which is necessary to provide goods or services to the consumer, retain it no longer than necessary to serve those purposes, inform consumers what data they have about them, name the person responsible for administering these responsibilities and to conduct periodic assessments of their data privacy policies and procedures. Companies would also be prohibited from using consumer data in a discriminatory manner.

There are some provisions unique to Minnesota. For instance, companies would be prohibited from attempting to identify the subjects of anonymous data. If consumers are profiled in a way that affects their access to jobs, housing, or insurance, they would have the right to question the data. An automated decision process would be used to make the resulting decisions and have the profiling model re-run with corrected data. They would be entitled to a plain English explanation of why the decision was made and what they could do to achieve a different result next time.

The Minnesota Attorney General is charged with enforcing the legislation. A draft federal bill, the American Privacy Rights Act, is currently circulating for comment, the Office of Senator Amy Klobuchar has consulted with Rep. Elkins.

Video of the floor session is available on House Public Information Services YouTube channel.


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