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  • NJ A2085
  • Prohibits a person from charging a fee to stop publishing personal identifying information obtained through the criminal justice system.
In Committee
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill prohibits a person from soliciting or accepting any pecuniary benefit in exchange for not disclosing certain personal identifying information of another individual. The personal identifying information protected under the bill is information that identifies a person as having been arrested, charged, prosecuted, or convicted of any criminal offense, including but not limited to criminal history record background information and any photograph of the person taken at the time of arrest. The bill also prohibits the disclosure of the protected personal identifying information by the person soliciting a pecuniary benefit. The purpose of this bill is to protect the public from unscrupulous persons who publish criminal justice system information in order to harm or embarrass those arrested or prosecuted for a criminal offense. Some of these persons operate websites where they publish mug shots or rap sheets and require the subject to pay a fee to prevent publication of or remove the potentially embarrassing picture or information. These fees can range from $30 to several hundred dollars or higher. While the law authorizes public access to this type of information, citizens should be protected from companies who obtain the information with the intent to coerce persons to pay for removal of the information in order to avoid embarrassment, adverse employment or social consequences, and other repercussions. Under the bill's provisions, "personal identifying information" is defined as a name, address or other information that may be used, alone or in conjunction with any other information, to identify a specific individual, and any photographic image, reproduction or other depiction of a person. The bill further provides that a person who knowingly violates the bill's provisions is liable to the person whose personal identifying information was disclosed, who may bring a civil action in the Superior Court. The court may award: (1) actual damages, but not less than liquidated damages computed at the rate of $1,000 for each solicitation to refrain from disclosure of protected information and $10,000 for each actual disclosure of the information; (2) punitive damages upon proof of willful or reckless disregard of the law; (3) reasonable attorney's fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred; and (4) any other preliminary and equitable relief the court determines to be appropriate. In addition, a person shall be liable for a civil penalty of not less than $500 for each act of solicitation prohibited by the bill and a civil penalty of not less than $1,000 for each act of disclosure prohibited under the bill. This penalty is to be collected and enforced by summary proceedings under the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.).
2nd Reading in the Assembly, Substituted by another Bill
Substituted by S1840 (3R)  (on 5/22/2017)
Date Chamber Action Description
5/22/2017 A Substituted by S1840 (3R)
10/20/2016 A Assembly Floor Amendment Passed (Vainieri Huttle)
10/6/2016 A Reported out of Assembly Comm. with Amendments, 2nd Reading
10/6/2016 Assembly Consumer Affairs Hearing (10:00 10/6/2016 Committee Room 13, 4th Floor)
1/27/2016 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
Detail 10/6/2016 Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee: Reported with Amendments 4 0 0