Call-center bill advances at Capitol

A Minnesota House committee has approved legislation that sets new rules for foreign call centers doing business in the state.

The bill requires telemarketers and customer service representatives to identify their location if asked. Overseas call centers would also have to disclose an alternative U.S. contact when requesting personal or financial information.

Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, says his bill will help protect private data.

"Why is it so important that we try to have that data kept here? For security purposes, number one. And number two is if someone does commit fraud or steals your assets, we can prosecute them here. We can prosecute them under our laws," Atkins said.

A Minnesota Chamber of Commerce representative said consumers already have privacy protections under federal law. He also warned the bill could cause greater frustrations for Minnesota trying to deal with foreign call centers. The committee approved the measure on a voice vote. The bill's next stop is the Commerce and Labor Committee.

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