Interim Charges on Privacy Released

Lt. Governor Dewhurst continues to release interim charges to committees of the Texas Senate to study prior to the 2015 legislative session. City-related charges relating to the protection of privacy issued for the Senate Committee on State Affairs are reprinted below. TML will continue to monitor additional charges released by the Lt. Governor and the progress of each study. We can expect the remainder of the Texas Senate committee interim charges to be released within the next month.

Surveillance:  Examine possible measures to protect the personal privacy of Texas residents from governmental and commercial surveillance, including: (1) any necessary limits on warrantless search and seizure of data from electronic devices and wireless providers, including digital content and geolocational data; (2) any necessary protections against non-consented video and audio recordings collected by private handheld and wearable mobile devices and other private surveillance; and (3) any necessary limits on warrantless monitoring of the physical location of individuals through the use of biometrics, RFID chips, facial recognition, or other technologies.  Examine related measures proposed or passed in other states.

Personal Data Collection:  Review the types and scope of personal data collected by governmental and commercial entities and consider methods to minimize the government’s collection of data on its citizens. The study should include (1) whether sufficient protections exist for DNA samples and information, including whether there should be a prohibition on the creation of DNA databases, except for felons and sex offenders; (2) methods to protect the privacy of gun owners from aggregated purchasing pattern tracking; (3) mechanisms to ensure that private health care information is properly protected; and (4) ways to ensure that previously anonymous data is not improperly re-identified and marketed. Examine related measures proposed or passed in other states.

Transparency in Data Collection:  Examine possible reforms designed to increase citizens’ ability to know what data is being collected about them by governmental and commercial entities and with whom that data is being shared, including an analysis of consumer informed consent.  Examine related measures proposed or passed in other states.


TML member cities may use the material herein for any purpose. No other person or entity may reproduce, duplicate, or distribute any part of this document without the written authorization of the Texas Municipal League.

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