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    St. Cloud Times (Minnesota): New laws on ID theft, business start today

    The St. Cloud Times reports on new laws in Minnesota that affect individual privacy, including allowing law enforcement officials access to cellphone location tracking data “in an emergency.”

    Cell phone location: A new law requires cell-phone companies to reveal call-location information if asked by law enforcement to do so in an emergency. The law came from the Kelsey Smith Act, named for a missing Kansas teen whose body was found after a phone company voluntarily provided the location of her cell phone. Such locations can be tracked by cell towers, according to a release from House Public Information Services.

    Law enforcement may request call-location information if a person is at risk of death or serious physical harm, the law says.

    A new law also affects “skimmer” devices. “Skimmers” are devices that read and capture data off magnetic strips on credit cards, driver’s licenses, ATM cards.

    It isn’t hard to find the technology for credit- or debit-card skimming. Card readers are readily available from stores for a few hundred dollars. Bars and clubs have used off-the-shelf card readers to gather data from customers’ driver’s licenses or ID cards.

    Identity theft: The Legislature moved to criminalize possession of “skimming” devices that can be used to steal someone’s identity. The new law makes it a felony to possess devices that allow unauthorized scanning and recording of personal information from the magnetic strip of a credit card.

    One such device steals personal information by mimicking the card inlet on ATMs, according to a release from House Public Information Services. When a user inserts their ATM card into the device, it reads and records the card’s information.

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