April 3, 2002

Legislative Activity

Date: April 3, 2002

To: AAF Members

From: Clark Rector Jr. - VP State Government Affairs
Jennifer Akridge, Coordinator-Government Affairs

Re: Minnesota Privacy Bill

An online privacy bill (S.F. 2908) is moving quickly through the Minnesota state legislature that unfairly burdens e-commerce and over-regulates the flow of necessary anonymous information. The bill is well-intentioned but does not provide a sensible approach to privacy protection. If passed, this bill would be the first state privacy law in existence and could serve as a poor example to other states that aim to follow suit.

Please contact your state Senators and Representatives urging them to oppose S.F. 2908.

S.F. 2098 should be opposed because:

  • Article 1 of the bill breaks entirely new ground, raises complex issues, and would set a model for other state legislation. It would legislate in a technical and complicated area, and should not be adopted without more careful study. In the meantime, Minnesota can rely upon deceptive trade practice laws to pursue sites that mislead customers with regard to their privacy policies.
  • The bill is incomplete. It creates the illusion of privacy protection but does not protect offline privacy.
  • Penalties are imposed for even the smallest, inadvertent disclosures by online businesses but no similar oversight exists for primarily brick-and-mortar businesses or the government.
  • The bill over-regulates all information, treating anonymous and personally identifiable information as one in the same. For example, it covers use of non-individually identifying cookies to make websites more convenient for users to access or to justify advertising revenue.
  • Privacy laws should provide fair protection of both on and offline privacy and equal penalties for disclosures without unduly regulating necessary information.

Contact information for your state’s elected officials can be found at www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/legdir.htm

Do not hesitate to call us if you have questions at 1-800-999-2231.