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Thread: Is the Contact card database legal?

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Is the Contact card database legal?

    The next time a LEO asks questions just for his Contact cards which Novacop now admits go into a database.....ask, "Is it even legal to collect that data?"

    § 2.2-3800. Short title; findings; principles of information practice.
    A. This chapter may be cited as the "Government Data Collection and Dissemination Practices Act."
    B. The General Assembly finds that:
    1. An individual's privacy is directly affected by the extensive collection, maintenance, use and dissemination of personal information;
    2. The increasing use of computers and sophisticated information technology has greatly magnified the harm that can occur from these practices;
    3. An individual's opportunities to secure employment, insurance, credit, and his right to due process, and other legal protections are endangered by the misuse of certain of these personal information systems; and
    4. In order to preserve the rights guaranteed a citizen in a free society, legislation is necessary to establish procedures to govern information systems containing records on individuals.
    C. Recordkeeping agencies of the Commonwealth and political subdivisions shall adhere to the following principles of information practice to ensure safeguards for personal privacy:
    1. There shall be no personal information system whose existence is secret.
    2. Information shall not be collected unless the need for it has been clearly established in advance.
    3. Information shall be appropriate and relevant to the purpose for which it has been collected.
    4. Information shall not be obtained by fraudulent or unfair means.
    5. Information shall not be used unless it is accurate and current.
    6. There shall be a prescribed procedure for an individual to learn the purpose for which information has been recorded and particulars about its use and dissemination.
    7. There shall be a clearly prescribed and uncomplicated procedure for an individual to correct, erase or amend inaccurate, obsolete or irrelevant information.
    8. Any agency holding personal information shall assure its reliability and take precautions to prevent its misuse.
    9. There shall be a clearly prescribed procedure to prevent personal information collected for one purpose from being used for another purpose.
    10. The Commonwealth or any agency or political subdivision thereof shall not collect personal information except as explicitly or implicitly authorized by law.
    (1976, c. 597, §§ 2.1-377, 2.1-378; 1987, c. 506; 2001, c. 844; 2003, cc. 791, 914, 918, 927; 2009, cc. 849, 867.)

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Even better, print out a bunch of cards with that code on it. When asked for your personal information, hand that card over. The reactions would be quite interesting, I bet.

    You would basically be accusing the LEO of breaking the law. And it would appear, rightly so. C.9. and C.10. would appear to be their biggest problems. Although they probably have procedures in place that specify they are allowed to do pretty much whatever they want with the information.

    TFred

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    So, if I read
    9. There shall be a clearly prescribed procedure to prevent personal information collected for one purpose from being used for another purpose
    correctly, if Novacop collects info about me being at place X at time/date Y he (and all the other cops) cannot use it in relation to my being at place A at time/date B, regardless of which came first.

    Wonder how much it will cost to get a few hundred copies laminated?

    Also, do you think the cops will respond to a FOIA about any records they may have about the person submitting the FOIA, like the FBI is supposed to do when you write them and ask for info on what they have about you in their files?

    stay safe.

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    I'm sure NovaCop will be along shortly to tell us all how we are wrong, and that the words of the code don't really mean what they say.

    From prior posts, it is fairly obvious that he's real good at words that don't mean what they say.

    TFred

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    I'm sure NovaCop will be along shortly to tell us all how we are wrong, and that the words of the code don't really mean what they say.

    From prior posts, it is fairly obvious that he's real good at words that don't mean what they say.

    TFred
    I'm sure his first word will be "HA!".

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    We jest, but in all seriousness... it is often said on these very forums that police officers exist to put criminals in jail.

    I'm very sure they view every tool at their disposal to be used for that purpose, including a contact database. Any information that is in there, and no matter where it came from, or under what circumstances, is fair game to be used for any reason they may see fit, as long as the end goal is to put people in jail. No doubts in my mind that is their view.

    TFred

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    We jest, but in all seriousness... it is often said on these very forums that police officers exist to put criminals in jail.

    I'm very sure they view every tool at their disposal to be used for that purpose, including a contact database. Any information that is in there, and no matter where it came from, or under what circumstances, is fair game to be used for any reason they may see fit, as long as the end goal is to put people in jail. No doubts in my mind that is their view.

    TFred
    It is, but that's why they
    Last edited by peter nap; 07-05-2011 at 04:02 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    The next time a LEO asks questions just for his Contact cards which Novacop now admits go into a database.....ask, "Is it even legal to collect that data?"
    I'm thinking of submitting a FOIA request to Fairfax County (since I live here) asking about this database, and any policies or procedures associated with it. I am especially interested in a listing of what information fields it contains.

    However, as I don't have a lot of experience with FOIA requests, I could use some help drafting the request to be specific enough, but also not let them weasel out of actually giving me the information. Any suggestions?
    Alma 43:47 - "And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed...."
    Self defense isn't just a good idea, it's a commandment.

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    Regular Member ChinChin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    Even better, print out a bunch of cards with that code on it. When asked for your personal information, hand that card over. The reactions would be quite interesting, I bet.
    I can tell you what their reactions would be to anything you try to hand them OTHER than your ID. When trying to hand them one of the "know your rights cards" the officer refused to take it and continued to ask for ID. Many people have reported the same with those cards, print outs of Commonwealth law code sites, Atty general opinions, etc. The majority of beat cops you'll interact with don't care to know what the law says. They just seem to want to control the scene which precludes being proven wrong on their scene.
    The problem with the internet is nobody can really tell when you’re serious and when you’re being sarcastic. –Abraham Lincoln

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grylnsmn View Post
    I'm thinking of submitting a FOIA request to Fairfax County (since I live here) asking about this database, and any policies or procedures associated with it. I am especially interested in a listing of what information fields it contains.

    However, as I don't have a lot of experience with FOIA requests, I could use some help drafting the request to be specific enough, but also not let them weasel out of actually giving me the information. Any suggestions?


    There is no "form" for a FOIA request in Virginia. A polite letter addressed to the Chief, asking him for "the data fields of the field contact card, by whatever name it might be known and used." should cover this area.

    If there are other areas you want to get into, I'm willing to get into an exchange of PMs with you to try to cover the weasel-words.

    stay safe.

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    Regular Member riverrat10k's Avatar
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    I'm find C.5 ,C.6 and C7. very interesting.....

    These sentences are similar in wording to items in the Fair Credit Reporting Act, i.e. you have the right to know what is in your credit report and dispute any inaccurate info.

    What are called jr/sr mix-ups are common. Worst I ever saw was a young guy working his way through college and getting aid while his alcoholic father used the son's ss# to get more credit. Sad.

    I doubt there are formalized proceedures for the "contact data" but according to this , there should be. Guess it is time to request our files! Think each locality has a database, or is it piggybacked on the FBI or some such?

  12. #12
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by riverrat10k View Post
    These sentences are similar in wording to items in the Fair Credit Reporting Act, i.e. you have the right to know what is in your credit report and dispute any inaccurate info.

    What are called jr/sr mix-ups are common. Worst I ever saw was a young guy working his way through college and getting aid while his alcoholic father used the son's ss# to get more credit. Sad.

    I doubt there are formalized proceedures for the "contact data" but according to this , there should be. Guess it is time to request our files! Think each locality has a database, or is it piggybacked on the FBI or some such?
    I think they are all separate. I actually wrote one for some Henrico Officers many years ago.
    Most localities won't even admit there is one. Novacop was nice enough to fess up in a post to Skidmark....Soooo, we at least know Fairfax has one.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by riverrat10k View Post
    Guess it is time to request our files! Think each locality has a database, or is it piggybacked on the FBI or some such?
    Each agency has its own field contact forms and database. I've been in Grundy a time or two and even talked ro a cop there. Guess I'll drop them a note along with all the other LEAs in the state just to see what's what.

    Now imagine if two people came up and asked. And then three people, in harmony. And then four, and five, and so on. Imagine if whole lots of folks came up and asked, in four-part harmony. (Bonus points if you know the reference.)

    stay safe.

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    Regular Member 1245A Defender's Avatar
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    well,,,

    alices restaurant, if you want to end war and stuff you gotta sing loud, with feeling..

    ETA; you know of coarse, that alices restaurant, is not the name of the restaurant, its just the name of the song,
    and thats why arlo calls the song alices restaurant!
    Last edited by 1245A Defender; 07-05-2011 at 11:31 PM.
    EMNofSeattle wrote: Your idea of freedom terrifies me. So you are actually right. I am perfectly happy with what you call tyranny.....

    “If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”

    Stand up for your Rights,, They have no authority on their own...

    All power is inherent in the people,
    it is their right and duty to be at all times ARMED!

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    Regular Member riverrat10k's Avatar
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    Yeah, Skid, I think it is time for us all to ask. Guess the worst that can happen is another "contact" being added.

    "Mr. Riverrat10k has been a colossal p-i-b constantly requesting and attempting to correct his information"

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    Well, I sent the following off the the Fairfax County Police Chief this evening, after some suggested revisions from skidmark.

    I would like to request the following information:

    1. The information routinely collected as part of a "field contact card" (by whatever name it is known) during interactions with members of the public, including a copy of any forms routinely used for this purpose.
    2. A copy of department policy and procedures for the handling of said information.
    3. Details on how long and in what format (paper, electronic, etc) said information is retained by the department.
    4. A citation for the law or regulation that authorizes the collection and retention of said information.
    I'll post whatever answer I get when it comes in.
    Alma 43:47 - "And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed...."
    Self defense isn't just a good idea, it's a commandment.

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    Regular Member riverrat10k's Avatar
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    Nice. I will use that format.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grylnsmn View Post
    Well, I sent the following off the the Fairfax County Police Chief this evening, after some suggested revisions from skidmark.



    I'll post whatever answer I get when it comes in.
    Would it be useful to ask for what other agencies/entities have access to the contact info? Also, how about asking the Sheriff's Dept. for the same info?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tritonguy View Post
    Would it be useful to ask for what other agencies/entities have access to the contact info? Also, how about asking the Sheriff's Dept. for the same info?
    That would probably be something for a follow-up request. My initial goal is to get verification that they keep that information on file and exactly what information they keep. Access and use of that information only becomes an issue once we know that they have the information and exactly what they have.

    For example, if all they keep is a log of people's names and the date/time of the contact, it's not as much of an issue as if they have Name, DOB, address, DL number, etc. Also, if they only keep the information for a short time (say, 30 days), it's a different matter than if they keep it indefinitely.

    Most of that should be covered by the request for their policies and procedures for handling the data.
    Alma 43:47 - "And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed...."
    Self defense isn't just a good idea, it's a commandment.

  20. #20
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Another possible avenue here, for scanner enthusiasts who live in jurisdictions where the law enforcement agencies are not yet encrypting their radio traffic, I would think that a day or two of casual listening (especially a weekend evening) would yield sufficient evidence by reference to such a database.

    What's the point of having said database if you don't tell your officers in the field about the information it might contain upon their contact with certain individuals from time to time?

    Just a thought.

    TFred

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    But TFred, we can always FOIA radio traffic. Heck, I'm such a cop fan that just listening to the routine traffic on 3rd shift gets me all worked up. Who are the cops to deny me my 8-hour thrill of listening to them call in as out of service for another donut run? And yes, I'll bring my own disc for them to use if putting the recorded traffic onto.

    stay safe.

  22. #22
    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    Gathering Data; retaining data

    Well, it's becoming much harder to stay "off the grid" with databases on the people everywhere.

    Now, there is this new monstrosity:

    I Guess the ‘You Are All Criminals Act’ Didn’t Have the Same Ring

    As you may have already guessed, the handful of provisions in the bill that really deal specifically with child porn are a fig leaf for its true purpose: A sweeping data retention requirement meant to turn Internet Service Providers and online companies into surrogate snoops for the government’s convenience. Any provider of an “electronic communication” or “remote computing” service—meaning broadband providers like Comcast, but also companies like Google—would have to retain records of the “temporarily assigned network address” (such as an IP address) associated with each account for 18 months.
    I suppose that would include this board.

  23. #23
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Repeater,

    In spite of the fact that, yes, they are in fact out to get you as part of a vast international conspiracy to take away your personal blankie, could you stick to the subject of "field interview cards/contacts" databases? If you can do that I'll tell you how Linus copes while his is in the washing machine.

    Remember, part of this discussion is how we can make our own resident Officer Friendly's life that much more difficult.

    stay safe.

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    Quick update

    I just got a reply asking for my mailing address for them to send the materials (as allowed under 2.2-3704 (A)). No details on what materials they will actually send.
    Alma 43:47 - "And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed...."
    Self defense isn't just a good idea, it's a commandment.

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    Regular Member riverrat10k's Avatar
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    Nice work, Kimball K.!
    Looking forward to what you get.

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