New Jersey is latest state to introduce internet privacy bill to protect your personally identifiable information

Posted on May 21, 2017 by Caleb Chen
new jersey to have internet privacy

A New Jersey Democrat has submitted a new internet privacy bill (A-4800) to the New Jersey Assembly that would bring strong broadband privacy protections to the state. According to MediaPost, New Jersey Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker of Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, and Somerset introduced the legislation with input from former Federal Trade Commission (FTC) technologist Ed Felten. Zwicker passionately explained the need for internet privacy, since some on capitol hill seem to have forgotten:

“In today’s world, using the Internet is essential to everyday life, which means that Internet service providers have unparalleled access to a great deal of information about their subscribers’ highly personal habits, preferences, even medical issues. That private data should not be up for sale to the highest bidder without subscribers’ knowledge or consent.”

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) know all of your sensitive information

The internet privacy debate of 2017 revealed that many internet users in America had no idea the spying powers that their ISP wielded over them. As the technology to connect us has advanced, so too has the technology to track and profit off of our online behaviors. Zwicker also said:

“Technology is advancing, but the fundamental principle that consumers have a right to privacy over their information remains unchanged. It is more important than ever to ensure that consumers can be sure that their personal information is confidential and that they are protected from the potential harm caused by unpermitted disclosure.”

Zwicker emphasized that he had introduced the bill, A-4800, because:

“This is not a political issue. It’s a consumer protection issue.”

During the federal battle for broadband privacy, lobbyists for the ISPs went so far as to claim that internet history and app browsing data do not count as “sensitive information” and couldn’t possibly be “personally identifiable.” A-4800 makes it clear that the following types of data are sensitive, personal, and must be protected by ISPs:

  • name, address, precise geolocation, Social Security number or telephone number;
  • requests for specific materials or services from an ISP;
  • Internet protocol (IP) addresses or information concerning the access or use of online services;
  • information identifying a device used primarily or exclusively by the subscriber or users of the subscriber’s account;
  • financial or billing information;
  • demographic data;
  • medical information;
  • browser cache or history;
  • the contents of a subscriber’s communications or data-storage devices; or
  • any information pertaining to children.

States will continue to protect internet privacy where the federal government has decided not to

In the wake of President Trump’s signing of S.J.Res. 34, which got rid of internet privacy protections under the FCC, several other states have also introduced their own internet privacy laws just like New Jersey now has. It’s interesting to note that a House bill by Representative Blackburn seeks to forbid states, or even cities (as happened in Seattle and Tacoma), from enforcing their own strict internet privacy rules for ISPs and other telecom providers.

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  1. Steve Carr

    Privacy is every Americans right. Freedom of speech and freedom of the internet,. We must keep the internet free from the government. Stop the Government from spying on everybody, we have a constitutional right to our privacy. Use the search engine that does not change its results for political reasons and respects your privacy, just good old fashion results that are not tracked. Have a great day

    7 years ago