ACLU of Virginia joins the cause of legislators concerned about loss of privacy; House Science and Technology Committee expected to address bill on MondayThe ACLU of Virginia is asking the House Committee on Science and Technology to support an important new bill that challenges the increased use of privacy-invading technologies by local governments and the state.
The bill, HB 1304, requires public bodies to conduct privacy impact analyses when authorizing the use or prohibition of invasive technologies. Under the bill, the Joint Commission on Technology and Science will be handed the responsibility of promulgating guidelines on how the impact analyses are to be carried out.
The principal sponsor of HB 1304 is Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, who has often been at odds with the ACLU on issues such as separation of church and state and reproductive rights.
“Privacy has become the victim of technology in recent years,” said ACLU of Virginia executive director Kent Willis. “Government officials across the state are increasingly using new technologies to monitor the movements and actions of citizens, ostensibly for the purpose of enhancing public safety. So far, though, about the only clear conclusion one can draw is that they have succeeded in reducing privacy. “
“Virginia Beach began using face recognition cameras near its beachfront in 2002, but it has yet to help them nab a single criminal,” added Willis. “Meanwhile, Tampa Bay and every major airport that experimented with face recognition systems stopped using them because they simply did not work.”
“This bill is not the final answer to the proliferation of privacy-invading technologies in our society,” added Willis, “and it will only be as strong as the guidelines that will be written to implement it. But it is certainly an important first step.”
The Committee is scheduled to meet Monday at 4:00 p.m. in House Room D.
Contacts: Kent Willis, Executive Director, ACLU of Virginia, 804-644-8022