1st Engrossment - 82nd Legislature (2001 - 2002) Posted on 12/15/2009 12:00am
1.1 A bill for an act 1.2 relating to telecommunications; enacting 1.3 Telecommunications Consumer Privacy Act; providing for 1.4 privacy of telecommunications customer information; 1.5 requiring consent for disclosure of customer 1.6 information; providing penalties; proposing coding for 1.7 new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapters 13; 237. 1.8 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 1.9 Section 1. [13.682] [TELECOMMUNICATIONS DATA CODED 1.10 ELSEWHERE.] 1.11 Subdivision 1. [SCOPE.] The section referred to in 1.12 subdivision 2 is codified outside this chapter. That section 1.13 classifies certain information obtained by a government entity 1.14 from a telecommunications service provider as private data on 1.15 individuals. 1.16 Subd. 2. [CUSTOMER INFORMATION.] Customer information 1.17 obtained by a government entity from a telecommunications 1.18 service provider is private data on individuals under section 1.19 237.83, subdivision 3, unless specifically classified by other 1.20 law. 1.21 Sec. 2. [237.82] [TELECOMMUNICATIONS CONSUMER PRIVACY ACT; 1.22 DEFINITIONS.] 1.23 Subdivision 1. [GENERALLY.] For purposes of sections 1.24 237.82 to 237.88, the following terms have the meanings given 1.25 them. 1.26 Subd. 2. [AFFILIATE.] "Affiliate" means any person that 2.1 controls, is controlled by, or is under the common control with 2.2 a telecommunications service provider. 2.3 Subd. 3. [AGGREGATE INFORMATION.] "Aggregate information" 2.4 means collective data that relate to a group or category of 2.5 services or customers from which individual customer identities 2.6 have been removed or cannot be ascertained. 2.7 Subd. 4. [CUSTOMER.] "Customer" means an individual or 2.8 entity or authorized representative of an individual or entity 2.9 to whom a telecommunications service provider is providing or 2.10 has provided a telecommunications service. 2.11 Subd. 5. [CUSTOMER INFORMATION.] "Customer information" 2.12 means: 2.13 (1) individually identifiable information about a customer 2.14 that is available to a telecommunications service provider by 2.15 virtue of the relationship between the customer and the 2.16 provider, including information regarding the identity of 2.17 persons called or from whom calls were received, length and date 2.18 of calls, account balances, bank account information for 2.19 automatic withdrawal and other purposes, payment records, 2.20 transaction histories, or credit information; and 2.21 (2) the telephone numbers of persons with unlisted and 2.22 unpublished telephone numbers. 2.23 Aggregate information is not customer information. Subscriber 2.24 list information under section 237.87 is not customer 2.25 information, except for information about a subscriber that has 2.26 requested not to be listed. 2.27 Subd. 6. [LOCAL TELEPHONE SERVICE.] (a) "Local telephone 2.28 service" includes: 2.29 (1) basic local telephone service within a local calling 2.30 area; 2.31 (2) any related ancillary or enhanced services such as 2.32 voice messaging, caller identification, and call waiting; and 2.33 (3) any other non-long-distance telecommunications service 2.34 under the jurisdiction of the commission, including high-speed 2.35 data transport. 2.36 (b) "Local telephone service" does not include mobile 3.1 service or cellular service. 3.2 Subd. 7. [LOCAL TELEPHONE SERVICE PROVIDER.] "Local 3.3 telephone service provider" means any person who provides local 3.4 telephone service pursuant to a certificate of authority granted 3.5 by the commission, and may also provide other telecommunications 3.6 services. A local telephone service provider includes both 3.7 incumbent local exchange carriers and competitive local exchange 3.8 carriers. 3.9 Subd. 8. [TELECOMMUNICATIONS.] "Telecommunications" means 3.10 the transmission, between or among points specified by the user, 3.11 of information of the user's choosing, without change in the 3.12 form or content of the information as sent and received. 3.13 Subd. 9. [TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE.] (a) 3.14 "Telecommunications service" means: 3.15 (1) the offering of telecommunications for a fee directly 3.16 to the public, or to classes of users as to be effectively 3.17 available directly to the public, regardless of the facilities 3.18 used; and 3.19 (2) any service subject to this chapter, provided to a 3.20 customer at retail for ultimate consumption. 3.21 (b) Telecommunications service does not include a service 3.22 furnished by one provider to another for resale. 3.23 Subd. 10. [TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE 3.24 PROVIDER.] "Telecommunications service provider" means a 3.25 provider of telecommunications service, including an independent 3.26 telephone company, telephone company, or telecommunications 3.27 carrier; a municipality that provides a telecommunications 3.28 service; or a cellular or other wireless telecommunications 3.29 service provider. 3.30 Sec. 3. [237.83] [PRIVACY OF CUSTOMER INFORMATION.] 3.31 Subdivision 1. [DUTY OF CONFIDENTIALITY.] Except as 3.32 required by law or with the specific, express, prior consent of 3.33 the customer under section 237.84, a telecommunications service 3.34 provider that receives or obtains customer information about a 3.35 customer by virtue of its provision of a telecommunications 3.36 service to the customer shall only disclose or permit access to 4.1 that customer information in its provision of: 4.2 (1) the telecommunications service from which the private 4.3 information is derived; or 4.4 (2) services necessary to, or used in, the provision of the 4.5 telecommunications service, if the entity receiving the 4.6 information complies with sections 237.82 to 237.84. 4.7 Subd. 2. [EXCEPTIONS.] Sections 237.82 to 237.84 do not 4.8 prohibit a telecommunications service provider from disclosing 4.9 or permitting access to customer information: 4.10 (1) to the customer upon written request to obtain the 4.11 customer's own information; 4.12 (2) if necessary to initiate, render, bill, or collect for 4.13 telecommunications services; 4.14 (3) if necessary to protect the rights or property of the 4.15 telecommunications service provider or to protect other users of 4.16 the telecommunications service provider's services and other 4.17 providers from fraudulent, abusive, or unlawful use of or 4.18 subscription to telecommunications services; 4.19 (4) if requested by a government entity pursuant to a 4.20 subpoena or court order; or 4.21 (5) to an affiliate of the telecommunications service 4.22 provider for the purpose of providing telecommunications 4.23 services to the customer, if the affiliate receiving the 4.24 information complies with sections 237.84 to 237.88. 4.25 The exception in clause (5) does not apply to unlisted 4.26 numbers disclosed by means other than a directory assistance 4.27 request or unpublished numbers. 4.28 Subd. 3. [GOVERNMENT DATA.] Customer information obtained 4.29 by a government entity from a telecommunications service 4.30 provider is private data on individuals, as defined in section 4.31 13.02, subdivision 12, unless specifically classified by other 4.32 law. Long-distance telephone bills paid for by the state or a 4.33 political subdivision are public data under section 10.46. 4.34 Subd. 4. [AGGREGATE CUSTOMER INFORMATION.] Disclosure of 4.35 aggregate customer information by a telecommunications service 4.36 provider must be made on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms 5.1 and conditions. 5.2 Sec. 4. [237.84] [CUSTOMER NOTICE AND CONSENT FOR 5.3 DISCLOSURE.] 5.4 Subdivision 1. [NOTICE.] (a) Before an initial request for 5.5 customer consent to the release of customer information and 5.6 annually after that time, a telecommunications service provider 5.7 shall notify the customer of the customer's right to control 5.8 disclosure of and access to information on the customer. A 5.9 telecommunications service provider shall provide this notice in 5.10 writing directly to the customer. The notice must be labeled 5.11 "IMPORTANT PRIVACY INFORMATION." The notice must provide 5.12 sufficient information to enable the customer to make an 5.13 informed decision as to whether to consent to disclosure of or 5.14 access to information on the customer. 5.15 (b) A telecommunications service provider shall notify each 5.16 customer annually of any currently valid consents the customer 5.17 has executed. 5.18 Subd. 2. [CONSENT.] A consent to the release of customer 5.19 information must be in writing and signed by the customer or by 5.20 electronic means. Within 120 days of the effective date of this 5.21 section, the public utilities commission shall develop and issue 5.22 by order a method by which a customer may consent electronically 5.23 to disclosure of and access to information on the customer under 5.24 this section. The consent must be contained on a separate page 5.25 that clearly and conspicuously discloses and allows the customer 5.26 to specify: 5.27 (1) the time during which the consent is effective, which 5.28 may not be longer than five years; 5.29 (2) each category of customer information that may be 5.30 disclosed, including identities of persons called or from whom 5.31 calls were received, length and dates of calls, account 5.32 balances, bank account information, payment records, transaction 5.33 histories, or credit information; and 5.34 (3) the persons to whom disclosure may be made. 5.35 Sec. 5. [237.85] [RETAIL CUSTOMER SERVICE REQUIREMENTS.] 5.36 Subdivision 1. [RESOLUTION OF CUSTOMER INQUIRIES AND 6.1 COMPLAINTS.] A consumer complaint submitted to a 6.2 telecommunications service provider must be concluded by the 6.3 telecommunications service provider as expeditiously as possible 6.4 consistent with the rights of the parties to the complaint to 6.5 the due process of law and protection of the public interest. 6.6 Telecommunications service providers shall: 6.7 (1) provide for prompt resolution of customer disputes, 6.8 including disputes related to unauthorized charges and switching 6.9 of service; 6.10 (2) provide a sufficient number of knowledgeable customer 6.11 representatives to deliver adequate customer service in a timely 6.12 manner; and 6.13 (3) make a supervisor available to speak to a customer upon 6.14 customer request. 6.15 Subd. 2. [RATES, TERMS, AND 6.16 CONDITIONS.] Telecommunications service providers shall comply 6.17 with the following customer protection standards: 6.18 (a) A telecommunications service provider shall make 6.19 accurate price comparisons in all marketing and advertising 6.20 materials and sales calls. When comparing prices with the 6.21 prices of a competitor's services or products, a 6.22 telecommunications service provider shall consistently include 6.23 the company's own taxes or fees where taxes or fees have been 6.24 included in the price quoted for the competitor's services or 6.25 products. 6.26 (b) A telecommunications service provider shall provide 6.27 written notice of a price increase, substantial change in a term 6.28 or condition of service, or a discontinuation of a service other 6.29 than basic local telephone service prior to any such changes for 6.30 all categories of services provided by the telecommunications 6.31 service provider. The notice must be received by customers 20 6.32 days in advance of the changes and must be in the form of either 6.33 a direct mailing or bill insert. A new service, price decrease, 6.34 promotion, or insubstantial change in the terms or conditions of 6.35 a service may take effect immediately upon filing. This 6.36 provision applies only to the extent no other section of this 7.1 chapter sets forth notice requirements applicable to the 7.2 proposed price increase, price decrease, or other change in 7.3 service terms and conditions, including the introduction of a 7.4 new service. This provision does not affect the notification 7.5 requirements for permissible service disconnections in Minnesota 7.6 Rules, parts 7810.1800 and 7810.1900. 7.7 Subd. 3. [DISCONTINUATION OF LOCAL SERVICE.] A local 7.8 telephone service provider shall not withdraw from a service 7.9 area unless another local telephone service provider certified 7.10 for that area will be able to provide basic local telephone 7.11 service to the exiting provider's customers immediately upon the 7.12 date the exiting provider discontinues service. A local 7.13 telephone service provider shall not withdraw from its area 7.14 until at least 60 days after it has given written notice to the 7.15 commission, department, office of the attorney 7.16 general-residential utilities division, and its customers. This 7.17 provision does not affect the notification requirements for 7.18 permissible service disconnections in Minnesota Rules, parts 7.19 7810.1800 and 7810.1900. 7.20 Sec. 6. [237.86] [PENALTIES.] 7.21 In addition to other penalties provided in this chapter, 7.22 the attorney general may use its existing authority and remedies 7.23 against any telecommunications service provider who violates 7.24 section 237.83 or 237.84. 7.25 Sec. 7. [237.87] [SUBSCRIBER LIST INFORMATION.] 7.26 (a) The commission shall require a telecommunications 7.27 service provider that provides local telecommunications services 7.28 to provide subscriber list information gathered in its capacity 7.29 as a provider of those services in a timely and unbundled basis 7.30 under nondiscriminatory and reasonable rates, terms, and 7.31 conditions to any person upon request for the purpose of 7.32 publishing telephone directories, to the extent required by 7.33 federal law and consistent with the purposes of sections 237.82 7.34 to 237.88. 7.35 (b) "Subscriber list information" means the list of names 7.36 of subscribers of a telecommunications service provider and the 8.1 subscribers' telephone numbers and addresses that the 8.2 telecommunications service provider, or an affiliate, has 8.3 published, caused to be published, or accepted for publication 8.4 in any directory format. Information about a subscriber that 8.5 has requested not to be listed is not subscriber list 8.6 information. 8.7 Sec. 8. [237.88] [AUTHORITY OF COMMISSION UNAFFECTED.] 8.8 Nothing in sections 237.82 to 237.84 is intended to limit 8.9 the existing authority of the public utilities commission under 8.10 state or federal law with respect to the disclosure of 8.11 information. A telecommunications service provider that obtains 8.12 information pursuant to the commission's existing authority may 8.13 only disclose or permit access to that information as provided 8.14 in sections 237.83 and 237.84. 8.15 Sec. 9. [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 8.16 Sections 1 to 8 are effective the day following final 8.17 enactment.