New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Tom Kean

Kean Bill Protecting Residents’ Personal Data Advances

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Individuals, corporations and businesses, and associations would be required to protect the personal information of customers, clients, and members or risk significant fines under legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and advanced today by the Senate Commerce Committee.

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean sponsors legislation that would require individuals, corporations and businesses, and associations to protect the personal information of customers, clients and members or risk significant fines. (©iStock)

Kean’s bill, S-1233, requires any entity that owns or licenses personal information about a resident of the state to implement a comprehensive security program to prevent the data from being compromised.

“New Jersey residents understand their valuable information is vulnerable, and they feel powerless to do anything about it when third-parties hold their private details in insecure databases,” said Kean (R-21). “They would feel more confident that their identities are safe and sound under this legislation. Breeches that endanger the finances and peace of mind of unsuspecting families can be devastating, and this bill will encourage businesses to bolster defense strategies.”

Security measures required by the bill include a written plan containing administrative, technical, and physical safeguards that are necessary to protect personal information.

Under the legislation, it would be an unlawful practice under the consumer fraud act, to violate the bill’s provisions knowingly or recklessly.  An unlawful practice is punishable by a monetary penalty of not more than $10,000 for a first offense and not more than $20,000 for any subsequent offense.

“When residents provide their personal information to a company or organization, they have every right to expect it to remain private,” Kean said. “The entities in possession of this data will have to up their games.”

Under certain circumstances, violations of the bill’s requirements could result in cease-and-desist orders issued by the Attorney General, the assessment of punitive damages, and the awarding of treble damages and costs to those injured because of the violation.

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