A bill to ban the use of GPS trackers by private investigators doing opposition research in Virginia was just introduced by Del. Kathy Byron R-Campbell County. I am not sure why Delegate Byron thinks this is a problem but she is quoted in an article from today’s Virginian-Pilot saying “"we found out" that electronic spying has grown to include GPS tracking by private investigators, and it isn't limited to campaign appearances.” There was no mention in the article of any known cases of private investigators actually using GPS trackers to follow candidates.
HOUSE BILL NO. 2320
Offered January 12, 2011
Prefiled January 12, 2011
A BILL to amend the Code of Virginia by adding in Article 6 of Chapter 4 of Title 18.2 a section numbered 18.2-60.5, relating to placement of electronic tracking devices in or on vehicles of political adversaries; penalty.
Patrons-- Byron; Senator: Newman
Committee Referral Pending
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:
1. That the Code of Virginia is amended by adding in Article 6 of Chapter 4 of Title 18.2 a section numbered 18.2-60.5 as follows:
§ 18.2-60.5. Unauthorized use of electronic tracking device for opposition research; penalty.
A. A person who installs or places an electronic tracking device in or on a vehicle, or causes an electronic tracking device to be installed or placed in or on a vehicle, with the intent to track the location, movements, conduct, or activities of a person who is a member of any political party or political organization for use in opposition research is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.
B. As used in this section, unless the context requires a different meaning:
“Electronic tracking device” means an electronic or mechanical device that, when placed on or installed in a vehicle, permits other persons to remotely determine or track the position and movement of such vehicle.
“Opposition research” means the gathering of information related to a person’s activities to be publicly disclosed in any manner during a political campaign or for any other politically oriented purpose.
“Vehicle” has the same meaning set forth in § 46.2-100.