Comprehensive Overview (state-by-state) of the Legal Impact of wiretapping:

Virginia

Current status

Virginia has an interception statute addressing the interception, disclosure and use of wire, electronic or oral communications. The law forbids the interception of wire, oral or electronic communications, unless he or she is a party to the communication or has received prior consent from one of the parties. In the case of video surveillance, the law forbids recording images of other persons, but with strong emphasis on exposure of private body areas.

Impact of law

In Virginia, it is legal for a person to record an oral conversation or communication in which he or she is a party without the consent and without notifying the other parties. The same is valid for wire and electronic communications, defined as “any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature”, meaning that one can also lawfully record any email, text messages, chat content and other online interactions in which he or she participates under the same circumstances as recording a private conversation.

References to Physical TSCM

The law defines the term “intercept” as the acquisition of the contents of communication “through the use of any electronic, mechanical, or other device”. This is an open perspective, based on which we can assume that it was the lawmaker’s intention to openly cover all possible such devices.

References to Cyber TSCM

The law also addresses electronic communications and subsequently, any devices capable to intercept such communications.

Criminal implications

Violations of the interception statute are punishable as Class 1 misdemeanors.

Civil implications

Any person whose wire, electronic or oral communication is intercepted, disclosed or used in violation of this chapter can recover in a civil cause of action, any actual damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fee and other litigation costs. Liquidated damages are computed at the rate of $400 a day for each day of violation or $4,000, whichever is higher.

Code excerpts

Va. Code Ann. 19.2-62[1]. Interception, disclosure, etc., of wire, electronic or oral communications unlawful; penalties; exceptions.

  1. Except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter any person who:
  2. Intentionally intercepts, endeavors to intercept or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire, electronic or oral communication;
  3. Intentionally uses, endeavors to use, or procures any other person to use or endeavor to use any electronic, mechanical or other device to intercept any oral communication;
  4. Intentionally discloses, or endeavors to disclose, to any other person the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, electronic or oral communication; or
  5. Intentionally uses, or endeavors to use, the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, electronic or oral communication; shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.
  1. It shall not be a criminal offense under this chapter for a person to intercept a wire, electronic or oral communication, where such person is a party to the communication or one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to such interception.

Violation of this subsection shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Va. Code Ann. 19.2-69[2]. Civil action for unlawful interception, disclosure or use.

Any person whose wire, electronic or oral communication is intercepted, disclosed or used in violation of this chapter shall

(i) have a civil cause of action against any person who intercepts, discloses or uses, or procures any other person to intercept, disclose or use such communications, and

(ii) be entitled to recover from any such person:

  1. Actual damages but not less than liquidated damages computed at the rate of $400 a day for each day of violation or $4,000, whichever is higher;
  2. Punitive damages; and
  3. A reasonable attorney’s fee and other litigation costs reasonably incurred.

Va. Code Ann. 18.2-386.1[3]. Unlawful creation of image of another; penalty.

  1. It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly and intentionally create any videographic or still image by any means whatsoever of any nonconsenting person if

(i) that person is totally nude, clad in undergarments, or in a state of undress so as to expose the genitals, pubic area, buttocks or female breast in a restroom, dressing room, locker room, hotel room, motel room, tanning bed, tanning booth, bedroom or other location;

  1. A violation of subsection A shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

 

 

[1] Source: https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+19.2-62

[2] Source: https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+19.2-69

[3] Source: https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+18.2-386.1