consultants are sandburs

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bipartisan support for data privacy in Minnesota.

The Minnesota version would protect bank records, text messages, e-mails and other data. Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, is teaming up with DFL Sens. Scott Dibble of Minneapolis and John Marty of Roseville to push the amendment they say is needed to update the Constitution for the 21st century. A House version sponsored by Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover, also has bipartisan support.

This Strib online report.

Also, MinnPost here, MPR, here. With a state Constitutional amendment proposed - quoting Strib again:

The “My Life, My Data” movement would make Minnesota the second state to amend its Constitution by adding the words “electronic communications and data” to Section 10 of the document, which guarantees “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.” If approved, the amendment would appear on the November 2016 election ballot. A similar measure passed in Missouri last year with 75 percent of voter support.

The Minnesota version would protect bank records, text messages, e-mails and other data. Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, is teaming up with DFL Sens. Scott Dibble of Minneapolis and John Marty of Roseville to push the amendment they say is needed to update the Constitution for the 21st century. A House version sponsored by Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover, also has bipartisan support.

Dibble, who chairs the Transportation and Public Safety Committee, said he signed on because of the ever-blurring line between what is public and private information.

“This is a set of values that unites all of us across our different party affiliations and ideologies,” he said. “I think a central unifying premise of our system of government is we only need as much government as necessary.”

Well, Missouri doing it, that's sorry precedent. They've a big share of whackos.

Then I have to admit being perplexed.

Adding a few words to a cognate of the federal Fourth Amendment, generic words, do not, despite what Dibble says, expressly "protect bank records, text messages, e-mails and other data," because they do not expressly say that.

Moreover, neither present federal nor state Constitutions specify a governmental penalty nor penalties for individual government employees who might breach Fourth Amendment protections. The standard place where the issue arises is in criminal prosecutions where the only remedy to an aggrieved person is suppression of evidence.

Nobody gets fired.

That's like policing Wall Stree hijinks, without anyone going to the slammer. A big time, "So what."

Then there is NSA spying on us in the US. This Minnesota thing will not stop that. Not a jot.

And there are federal laws for secret surveillance and secret proceedings and if it's all secret, how short of a Snowdon or two coming forward will we know any how/why of our getting screwed by our government's agents?

And again, nobody gets fired, so "Where's the beef?"

Last, the existing wording in Minnesota's Constitution, as quoted by Strib, grants protection against [direct government] breach of “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.” However weakly enforced that right in practice is actually recognized. Doesn't "persons, ... papers and effects" include new forms and kinds of "effects?" If not, then delivered by auto differs from delivered by horseback, since autos were not part of life of the original Constitutional framers. That's a stupid way for people to think.

Yet the point is, that privacy protection, however badly watered down it is these days -- Isn't that already there? And if it's not government agents directly breaching privacy expectations, but say some private detective acting on behalf of say a collections agency, that breaches privacy and discovers criminality within the confines of a hacked-into email account and turns it over on a silver platter to police and prosecutors, isn't that an existing exception to an accused's right to suppress illegally obtained evidence? Because learned judges have said that government agents have not themselves misbehaved in such situations?

It's a big joke, folks, and one being played on the citizens.

Again - Nobody gets fired.

Readers, please in comments explain how I am wrong.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your take is absolutely incorrect. Circuits and state courts have ruled very inconsistently on these mattters. MN in particular is currently engaging in large scale data collection without probable cause. Lastly, your assertion that this will do nothing to reign in federal data collection brings your post to complete irrelevance. To say that local and state data collection does not have anything to do with fed data collection demonstrates a profound ingorance of the current natl security apparatus. In conclusion, you are completely off base.

eric zaetsch said...

Anon - Glad to be corrected, but your comment leaves several points unclear, at least to me.

It would be most helpful if you have and would provide a link to flesh out your comment.

In the alternatve, could you post a follow-up comment fleshing out what you have stated?

In particular -

How would this change the status quo?

Who would be punished/sanctioned if operating in contravention of the new amendment, and how punishment or sanction be triggered?

How might a victim of a breach of the amendment find out about a breach?

What remedy, liquidated money damages, injunction, etc., would the amendment trigger, and would it require juicial implementation?

Would there be a cost free easy administrative remedy enacted by statute to put teeth into such an amendment?

If yes to the last question, why not just enact the statute now and not created a ballot question?

What statutes can you cite that relate to the data privacy question currently in Minnesota statutory law?

In anticipation of your follow-up, thank you very much.