Home House passes Petersen’s restrictions on indiscriminate police surveillance

House passes Petersen’s restrictions on indiscriminate police surveillance


policecar3Police use of license plate readers and other data collection technologies will be strictly limited if a bill by Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) becomes law. On Tuesday, Petersen’s bill (SB 965) was reported out of the House 95-4. The bill now likely moves to conference.

Restricting the government’s unwarranted and indiscriminate collection of personal data has become a focus of Petersen’s legislative efforts in the last two sessions. Last year, he co-founded the Ben Franklin Liberty caucus in 2014 with Delegate Rich Anderson (R-Prince William).

Senator Petersen’s bill, SB 965, will limit police retention of license plate reader data to seven (7) days. Currently many police departments keep data for months or years, even if it is not related to any ongoing investigations.

Petersen’s bill does allow departments to keep data longer if it is related to an ongoing criminal investigation.

Statement of Senator Chap Petersen:
“I’m pleased the General Assembly has passed my bill to strictly limit police data collection and retention. The House and the Senate agree that police use of license plate readers should be limited, and I look forward to working with my colleagues from each chamber to move this bill on to the Governor’s desk. Virginia has been on the forefront of limiting of unnecessary collection of personal data by law enforcement agencies, and I hope that this bill can serve as model legislation for the other fifty states.”



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