The ACLU of Virginia today announced its support for the Virginia Electronic Privacy Communications Act, that would require Virginia law enforcement to get a warrant before looking at anyone’s personal electronic information.
The Act, introduced in the 2016 General Assembly Session by Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) and Del. Rich Anderson (R-Woodbridge), addresses Virginian’s privacy concerns and limits law enforcement monitoring of emails, cell phones and other forms of electronic communication to track people’s whereabouts and activities without a warrant. A 2014 Pew Research Center poll found that four out of five Americans are worried about government surveillance of their personal data.
“Virginians should not have to wonder if the government is using stealthy, secret or concealed technologies to access our data without our knowledge or consent,” said ACLU-VA Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga. “Without a warrant, or our express permission, government simply shouldn’t be searching through our private information. As a general rule, we think that, when it comes our privacy, law enforcement should get a warrant, get consent, or get out.”
Gastañaga thanked and commended Senator Petersen and Delegate Anderson for their leadership on privacy and technology issues, including their role as co-chairs of the Ben Franklin Liberty Caucus formed in the 2015 Session.
The ACLU of Virginia is one of 17 affiliates across the country announcing support today for some form of statewide digital privacy legislation. The ACLU national organization is leading the coordinated effort. Follow developments about Virginia ECPA and other privacy issues with hashtag #TakeCRTL.
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