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Bill would prohibit Minnesota from obtaining warrantless data

A proposed Minnesota bill would prohibit gathering personal information without a warrant.

If HF3173 becomes law, all government entities in the state will be required to have a judge’s search warrant “before obtaining personal identifying information on an individual” regardless of any order or protest by national authority. Minnesota Rep. John Lesch introduced the bill March 19, and it currently awaits a vote in the House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee.

“a government entity may not obtain personal identifying information concerning an individual without a search warrant.”

You can read the full text of the bill here. The legislation establishes a clear rejection of the NSA’s notorious bulk collection of personal data as well as the idea that “third party” held information doesn’t belong to you, laid out in Section 3, Subdivision 1(h):

“Personal identifying information” includes information concerning or that reasonably could be construed as concerning the identity, location, or activities of an individual. The term includes the individual’s name, physical or electronic address, telephone number, telephone numbers dialed or received, addresses from which electronic communications were sent or received, addresses of Web sites visited, billing records, health records, financial records, and physical location, including the location of electronic devices and other personal property owned or possessed by the individual. The term includes information that, in whole or in part, is generated or derived from or obtained by the retrieval of records held by a third party and by the use of technology that enables the user to obtain information in the aggregate or on a mass or comprehensive scale, or that a reasonable person would consider private or otherwise not readily available to the public. The term does not include information that is accessible to the public under other law or readily available or observable to the public when actually obtained through the direct observation by the line of sight of a person or group of persons.

Evidence collected in violation would be inadmissible in court.

The NSA has been secretly sharing illegally acquired personal information on Americans to the DEA, then covering up how the evidence surfaced in following investigations. Across the country local law enforcement share data right back through fusion centers. Tethering state agencies with legislation like HF3173 will prevent abuse from whichever direction.

The momentum behind grassroots efforts in protecting privacy hasn’t slowed down at all; in fact, it’s just the opposite! In addition to Minnesota, dozens of other small victories are within view,


If you live in Minnesota, click HERE to learn the next steps to take in support of HF3173.

If you live outside of Minnesota, click HERE to find out how to fight the NSA’s unconstitutional spying in your state.

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