Minnesota Cities Can’t Keep Your Email Address to Themselves

The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act determines what state agencies must do with the enormous mountains of data they collect. Most data is public (PDF overview), unless a statute or rule makes certain data private.

Many agencies provide email-based notifications, like snow emergency alerts or city council meetings, It turns out there is no statute or rule making those email addresses private, even though most of the websites where those email addresses are collected claim they will be kept confidential.

Now, state agencies are being forced to hand over thousands of email addresses to Kevin Berglund, who is apparently a controversial figure locally. Fortunately, most cities from which Berglund has requested data are dragging their feet.

With this in mind, you may want to create a free email address just for those notices — and update any addresses you have on file with Minnesota agencies right away.

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/financialaidpodcast/7302321334/)