VA House Bill 1562/Senate Bill 814


State: Virginia
Signed: March 23, 2015

Effective: July 01, 2015
Chapter: 482/483


HB 1562/SB 814 enacts the first-ever identity management legislation in the United States. Under the Act, Notaries could serve as “identity proofers” to vet the identities of applicants applying for an electronic identity credential for use in online transactions. The Act establishes a standards-settting body to implement the Act and provides limitations to the liability of identity providers and identity proofers who operate within identity trust frameworks.

Amends Title 2.2 and Title 59.1 of the Code of Virginia.
  1. Creates the Electronic Identity Management Act.
  2. Establishes an advisory council to establish standards and rules to implement the Act.
  3. Defines terms, including “identity proofer”, which means a person or entity authorized to act as a representative of an identity provider in the confirmation of a potential identity credential holder's identification and identity attributes prior to issuing an identity credential.
  4. Grants civil immunity to any identity provider, including an identity proofer, as defined, for any act or omission relating to the issuance of an identity credential or assignment of an identity attribute to an identity credential holder, provided that the identity credential or identity attribute was issued or assigned in accordance with the specifications of the identity trust framework of which the identity provider is a member that meets or exceeds the Commonwealth's identity management standards.
  5. Clarifies that if an identity credential was issued in compliance with the Commonwealth's standards and the policies of the identity trust framework of which it is a part, an identity provider or proofer may only be liable if the provider or proofer commits an act or omission that is grossly negligent or that constitutes willful misconduct.
  6. Clarifies that an identity provider, including an identity proofer, may not be liable for the misuse of an identity credential.
  7. Provides that the use of a trustmark on an identity credential provides a warranty by the identity provider that it has issued the identity credential in compliance with the standards of the identity trust framework.

House Bill 1562/Senate Bill 814 represent the first-ever identity management legislation enacted in a U.S. state or jurisdiction. Identity management refers to the process of creating, authenticating, using and trusting digital identities for use over the Internet. Every time users log into their email account, purchase goods on a retailer's website or access their online social communities, a digital ID is required. In the business and government sectors, an even more robust and secure identity credential is issued to users accessing protected networks, participating in clinical drug trials and digitally-signing contracts. Identity credentials for these use cases are obtained through an identity service provider with an established identity management framework, which dictates the policies governing the issuance and use of these credentials. In some identity management frameworks, Notaries serve as an “identity proofer” to vet the identity of an individual applying for a secure identity credential. An applicant presents a form requiring notarization to a Notary, who verifies the identity of the applicant and completes the certificate of acknowledgment or jurat on the form. The identity provider relies on the Notary's assertion of identity as a basis for issuing the identity credential to the applicant.

The security of online identity credentials have received focused attention through the reporting of the many data breeches of consumer information in the national news over the past months.

The Virginia new laws may prompt other states to look at digital identity management more closely.

It is hoped that through the standards-setting process in Virginia, Notaries are recognized as having a role in identity trust frameworks, affirming their value in online transactions for years to come.

Read House Bill 1562.

Read Senate Bill 814.