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Friday, August 17, 2012

Struggles of MInnesota's Data Privacy Law

Whew....I have been stuck in the depths of Minnesota Data Privacy Law for the last week over the Kerry Gauthier incident. Most reporters understand the rules.  Minnesota's Data Privacy Law is extensive and open to a lot of interpretation.  When we have incidents such as the Gauthier incident, we rely on our legal advisers to tell us what we can and cannot release.  Some reporters rely on anonymous sources and go on the record with it.  One local reporter did and wrongly reported Gauthier was arrested on this incident.  That is a problem.  What is the public to believe?

The Duluth Police Department works closer with the media than we ever have.  Four years ago we created a public information officer to work with the media and answer their questions 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  We send out more media releases on incidents than we ever have.  When a reporter calls we bend over backward to get them information, however we have to follow the law.  

1 comment:

  1. I get to wondering what can or can't be released to the public and what you would say about Data Privacy, having had your comments only summarized on the news at 5 pm on channel 6, I don't know what you actually said there and fear the way the news report presented it that your department's communication with the news has been damaged. I don't know what to say because I value the news reports as my only source of information at times about people accused of crimes. I'd also fear that reporters like Kevin Jacobsen would be caught in the middle of the controversy. Why wouldn't the preliminary report carry the information that those open cases can not be commented on?