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Security Information

Government may classify otherwise public data as not public security information (defined by Minnesota Statutes, section 13.37 , subdivision 1(a)), at the time of a data request.

What is security information?

Security information is government data that, if disclosed, would likely substantially jeopardize the security of information, possessions, individuals or property. Security information is private or nonpublic data.

Security information also includes the following specific data elements:

  • Checking account numbers
  • Crime prevention block maps
  • Lists of volunteers who participate in community crime prevention programs and their addresses (including email), telephone numbers, internet account information and global positioning system (GPS) locations

What should a government entity consider when making a security information determination?

Entities must consider the likelihood that potential harm will result from the disclosure. Where the circumstances demonstrate a higher likelihood/probability of harm, protecting the data may be appropriate.

Other Considerations

  • A data request “triggers” the need for a not public classification.
  • Data classified as security information in response to a specific data request do not necessarily remain not public for subsequent data requests; an entity must evaluate each request on a case-by-case basis.
  • Upon request, an entity must provide a written explanation of the necessity for the classification.
  • The explanation does not re-classify the data as security information; it explains the entity’s reasoning for the application of the section in response to a specific request.
  • Because the security information classification applies only to the data request at issue, entities are not required to provide Tennessen warnings upon subsequent collection of the same data; the data are still presumptively public.

Advisory Opinions describing proper use of security information

  • Building plans for commercial/industrial structures - Advisory Opinion 00-010
  • Work schedules for the governor’s security detail - Advisory Opinion 01-006
  • Telephone numbers and home addresses of applicants for county septic permits - Advisory Opinion 01-029
  • Pages from a police procedure manual detailing protocols in certain situations - Advisory Opinion 01-068
  • University’s contingency plan for employee strikes - Advisory Opinion 07-010
  • Architectural plans related to building a specific health clinic (inextricably intertwined data) - Advisory Opinion 11-011
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