Singleton, Codey Bill to Protect Consumers’ Personal Information Advances

Trenton – In an effort to increase transparency between online service operators and consumers, the Senate today advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton and Senator Richard Codey which would require commercial internet website and online service operators to notify consumers of the collection and disclosure of personally identifiable information to third parties.

Under the bill, S-332, an operator who seeks to report the personal information of a consumer to a third party would be directed to notify the consumer on its website or through an online service. The notification would be required to include the categories of information collected and all third parties with which the operator may disclose the consumer’s information.

“Unauthorized access to our personal information is an invasion of privacy and can result in identity theft,” said Senator Troy Singleton (D-Burlington). “This proposal will ensure that consumers are given a say in the distribution of their personal information, especially by allowing them to opt-out of the sale of their data.”

Upon request, the bill would require an operator to provide the consumer’s disclosed information and the contact information of the receiving third parties. An operator that receives a request from a consumer would be required to provide a response within 60 days of its verification and would be required to provide the information for all disclosures of personally identifiable information that occurred in the prior 12 months.

“There is no doubt that online services and internet providers continue to conduct business in a very opaque manner. Consumers are left in the dark about where and who may be accessing their personal information, which is absolutely unacceptable,” said Senator Codey (D-Essex/Morris). “This bill will serve as a vital step to resolving this discrepancy by putting the power back into the consumer’s hand regarding who may access their personal information.”

Further, online service operators would be required to provide consumers with the option to opt out of the sale of their personal information to third parties without penalty. The Attorney General would be the sole enforcer of any violations to the provisions of this bill.

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 27-11.

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