Privacy rights of individuals

Several federal and state laws protect your privacy rights regarding the information the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has about you.

The information owned by governmental entities in Minnesota is considered public unless there is a law that says it is not. At times, an MPCA staff member may ask you to provide information about yourself that is considered not public. In these situations, you will first be notified of:

  • The reason why the agency is collecting the requested information and how it plans to use this information
  • Whether or not you are required by law to provide the requested information
  • Any known consequences if you provide or do not provide the requested information
  • The identity of those who are authorized by law to see the information that you provide

Types of information

You have the right to be told whether the MPCA has any information about you. You also have the right to know how this information is classified by Minnesota law. There are three types of information about individuals in Minnesota law. These are:

  • Public
  • Private
  • Confidential

If the agency has public information about you, anyone who asks for this information can see it. If the agency has private information about you, only you and those authorized by law can see it. If the agency has confidential information about you, you cannot see it. Only those authorized by law can see it.

You have the right to see any public and private information the MPCA has collected on you at no charge and to be told what it means. However, after you see the information and have it explained to you, the MPCA does not have to show it to you for another six months unless a disagreement or action related to your rights as a data subject is pending or additional information on you is collected or created.

You have the right to obtain copies of any public and private information the agency has on you. However, you may have to pay for these copies. The MPCA will respond as quickly as possible with any request made related to your rights as a data subject or within 10 days of the date of your request (not counting Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays).

Questioning information

You have the right to question the information the agency has on you. To do this, you must notify the MPCA in writing, describing the disagreement.

Within 30 days, the agency will either correct the inaccurate or incomplete information and try to notify those who received this information in the past about the inaccuracies or incompleteness (including recipients named by you) or will notify you that it believes the information is correct.

The MPCA will share the information that is in dispute only if your statement of disagreement is also included with the information that is shared. You may also appeal the agency’s decision with the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Administration.

The Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Administration will try to resolve the disagreement or refer the matter to remediation (if both parties agree to this). Following these efforts, the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Administration will dismiss the appeal or issue an order and notice of hearing.

The information that you have successfully challenged will be completed, corrected or destroyed by the agency. The MPCA may keep a copy of the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Administration’s order or a summary of the dispute that does not contain any details of the information that was questioned.

Release of information

You have the right to release all, part or none of the private information the agency has on you. You also have the right to consent or revoke consent to the release of information the agency has on you.

If you are under the age of 18, you have the right to ask the MPCA to withhold the information it has on you.

To exercise any of your rights as a data subject, contact the Commissioner of the MPCA, John Linc Stine, at 520 Lafayette Road North in Saint Paul, Minnesota  55155-4194.