Virginia enacts Net legislation package

Governor claims the nation's first comprehensive state Internet policy.

Virginia's governor on Tuesday signed off on a slate of Internet-related bills, aiming to bolster his state's reputation as a leader on technology policy.

The seven laws enacted yesterday by Gov. Jim Gilmore include a bill establishing a state Secretary of Technology and a measure that would allow information sought under the state's Freedom of Information Act to be posted online or sent via e-mail.

The legislation represents "the nation's first comprehensive state Internet policy," Gilmore said in a statement. The package was developed with consulation from the state's 36-member Commission on Information Technology, which includes America Online Inc. CEO Steve Case, MCI Vice Chairman John Sidgmore, and Network Solutions Inc. Chairman Michael Daniels.

Other measures enacted Tuesday include:

A law that stiffens penalties for the use of encryption in committing crimes.

A bill outlawing "fraudulent" bulk e-mail.

A measure that updates the state's Computer Crimes Act to add penalties for using a Virginia ISP's backbone to send bulk e-mail.

A measure extending the state's Privacy Protection Act to include data collected on the Internet. This law requires Virginia companies to tell consumers how their private data is being used, and to give them the opportunity to refuse to provide private information.


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