I hope to see you at my annual Town Hall meeting this Saturday, February 1st from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. at the Fairfax City Hall. Senator Chap Petersen and I are looking forward to sharing what is going on down in Richmond and taking your questions!
This has been a productive week, with six of my bills now passed the House and on to the Senate for consideration. I also presented two budget amendments before the House Appropriations Committee.
Protecting Personal Information
On the House floor today I presented my bill to protect the personal information that is contained on the barcode on your driver's license (HB1072). As a victim of identity theft myself, I am acutely aware of the importance of protecting personal information. The recent breach of credit card information stored by Target was a poignant reminder that once your data is stored somewhere, it is vulnerable.
We are all accustomed to presenting a driver's license to verify age or identity. Recently, however, instead of visually reading the card, many retailers will electronically "swipe" the card to read the barcode on the back. Most people don't realize that by doing this (1) they are giving the retailer access to all of the information that is contained on the card and (2) that there are no restrictions on that business from storing the information or using it for marketing purposes. In case you haven't looked in a while, your license contains information on name, address, date of birth, DMV customer number, height, gender, whether you are an organ donor, and whether you have any restrictions on your license. Once this information is stored in someone else's database, you lose control over what happens to that data. For example, a bar in New York collected this personal information for literally thousands of individuals per week when carding their customers. All of this information is stored unencrypted and without any protections. Click here for the article.
My bill ensures that the personal information that is contained on a driver's license can only be used for very specific purposes and that the merchant cannot store or disseminate the information to a third party unless it is for one of the reasons in the bill. The bill passed second reading today thanks to the support of a bi-partisan group of legislators.
It is an honor to serve you! Don't forget that I am hosting my second annual Constituent Day on Monday, February 17th. We will meet between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m. and then visitors will get a behind-the-scenes tour of the General Assembly Building and the State Capitol. We have also arranged for a private tour of the historic John Marshall House. Send me a quick email at [email protected] if you are interested in attending.