Dec 142009
 
 December 14, 2009  Posted by  Laws, Surveillance, U.S.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear that law enforcement is asking for “flexibility” when it comes to our privacy or civil liberties, I have a Pavlovian “uh-oh” response.

Brad Swenson reports:

State lawmakers may consider a special category for data to allow law enforcement more investigative options, says Sen. Mary Olson.

“With all the intertwining of how we’re handling data today, it’s very important that we look at all sides of this issue very carefully,” Olson, DFL-Bemidji, said Friday in an interview.

She attended last week in St. Paul a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension-hosted informational hearing on data practices concerns and the use of databases in law enforcement.

Olson is chairwoman of a Senate subcommittee on data practices.

The Legislature needs to “make sure law enforcement has access to the information they need but that it doesn’t get out into other hands and/or have the ability to get used in a way that could have unintended negative consequences for people,” she said.

The hearing was designed to give legislators a prelude to the discussions that will be occurring during the legislative session surrounding data practice and security.

[…]

“The question of what information should be collected and how long that information should be stored has been an ongoing discussion within the BCA as well as at the Capitol,” said Olson. “The criminal intelligence data bill was introduced last session and will most likely see lengthy debate and discussion in my subcommittee as these privacy issues affect everyone in the state.”

Sen. Don Betzold, DFL-Fridley, authored a bill that seeks to define criminal intelligence data, classifying it as confidential, private non-public data. It also defines how the information may be used, shared and disseminated.

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