Notification and Subscription Data
Minnesota Statutes, section 13.356 classifies contact information that individuals provide government entities for notification purposes, or to subscribe to electronic publications, as private data. Telephone numbers, email addresses, account user names and passwords, IP addresses, and other data may be classified under this provision when collected, maintained, or received for these notification or subscription purposes.
Examples of these types of notifications or subscriptions to electronic periodic publications include:
- Individual requests email messages when there is a snow emergency.
- Individual requests text messages when there is a school closure.
- Individual signs up on a county's email list for quarterly newsletters.
- Individual provides a State agency with an email address to receive legislative updates.
- Individual signs up for a police department's weekly crime report statistics.
These types of data cannot be classified as private data under Minnesota Statutes, section 13.356:
- Data submitted to the Campaign Finance Board under chapter 10A
- Email address or phone number provided for making a public comment to a government entity
- Email list a state agency may maintain as part of the agency’s rulemaking notification efforts
Note: Email addresses, not collected for the rulemaking email list, in historic rulemaking files may be protected because of the law’s retroactive change of data classification (i.e. previously public data may change to private data).
- Email correspondence (e.g. an email address located on an emailed data request or an email sent asking a question) is not covered under this provision
- While the law does not require a Tennessen warning notice, consider whether it is beneficial to alert individuals that collection of their email addresses or phone numbers fall under this provision
- Consider whether to notify individuals on a list that some data are public (e.g. posting notice on the registration website or sending notice to the list).
- Consider how you describe a list, remembering that an email address or phone number can only be used for the specific purpose for which the individual provided them.
- Collect only the data you need to provide these notifications or subscriptions. Entities that collect additional data may encounter classification or data management concerns.
- Consider communication that happens over social media or in public discussion forums/chat rooms – this is not generally protected because of the known public nature of the activity.
- Note that names and mailing addresses are not classified as private under this provision.