Government Data Collection and Dissemination Practices Act; limitation on collection. (HB1528)

Introduced By

Del. Mark Berg (R-Winchester) with support from co-patron Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Government Data Collection and Dissemination Practices Act; limitation on collection and use of personal information by law enforcement; penalty. Limits the ability of law-enforcement and regulatory agencies to use technology to collect and maintain personal information on individuals and organizations where a warrant has not been issued and there is no reasonable suspicion of criminal activity by the individual or organization. The bill codifies an opinion of the Attorney General regarding the Government Data Collection and Dissemination Practices Act. The bill also allows a law-enforcement agency to collect information from a license plate reader provided that any information collected shall only be retained for 24 hours and shall only be used for the investigation of a crime or a report of a missing person. The bill provides that any person who sells or uses information collected from a license plate reader by a law-enforcement agency in any unauthorized manner is guilty of a Class 6 felony. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/06/2015Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/14/15 15101692D
01/06/2015Impact statement from VCSC (HB1528)
01/06/2015Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/21/2015Impact statement from DPB (HB1528)
02/10/2015Left in Courts of Justice


ACLU-VA Privacy Rights, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia believes that current law prohibits passive collection of personal information by police but supports legislation, such as HB 1528, which would clarify the limitations on use of ALPR’s by government agencies in accordance with former Attorney General Cuccinelli’s February 2013 opinion that concluded that the “passive” use of ALPRs to create massive databases violates Virginia’s Government Data Collection and Dissemination Practices Act. The ACLU of Virginia supports passage of legislation that would rein in the surveillance of Virginians not suspected of any criminal activity.

Safer Virginia writes:

Search warrants should be required when law enforcement is intercepting personal data. Current federal law regarding personal written correspondence should be applied to personal electronic correspondence.

Whoever takes any letter, postal card, or package out of any post office or any authorized depository for mail matter, or from any letter or mail carrier, or which has been in any post office or authorized depository, or in the custody of any letter or mail carrier, before it has been delivered to the person to whom it was directed, with design to obstruct the correspondence, or to pry into the business or secrets of another, or opens, secretes, embezzles, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
"18 U.S.C. 1702 - Obstruction of Correspondence." GPO's Federal Digital System. U S Government Publishing Office, 3 Jan. 2012. Web. 18 Jan. 2015.

Editor’s Pick
Roger Richman writes:

ISSUE: Inclusion of Administrative Warrants in the Bill

The text in 11. includes the following: "Unless a criminal or administrative warrant has been issued, law-enforcement and regulatory agencies shall not use any technology to collect or maintain personal information in a passive manner..."

Including "administrative warrants" opens a wide gap in the intended purpose of this bill. Such warrants, generally employed by regulatory agencies but also used by law enforcement, dispense with the formal requirements of search warrants (probable cause, etc.) and take the form of administrative decisions lacking independent judicial review and oversight. In Massachusetts there currently are cases involving administrative subpoenas for cell phone metadata issued by prosecutors in non-consensual searches by simply filing a form, no formal warrant required. Should administrative warrants be included in the Bill, a municipal department in Virginia under an administrative warrant authorizing code enforcement by drone surveillance could, as an example, ignore the express intent and requirements of the statute.