ASSEMBLY, No. 3757
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 9, 2009
Assemblyman NELSON T. ALBANO
District 1 (Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland)
Assemblywoman VALERIE VAINIERI HUTTLE
District 37 (Bergen)
Assemblyman WAYNE P. DEANGELO
District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)
Assemblywoman LINDA R. GREENSTEIN
District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)
Assemblyman Diegnan, Assemblywoman Evans, Assemblyman Fisher, Assemblywoman Lampitt, Assemblymen Johnson, Milam, Schaer, Assemblywomen Spencer, Wagner, Rodriguez, Addiego and Assemblyman Rudder
Provides penalties for sexually offensive communication or harassing communication through social networking websites.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
As amended by the General Assembly on March 16, 2009.
An Act concerning social networking websites and supplementing Title 56 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Social Networking Safety Act.”
2. No person shall transmit a sexually offensive communication through a social networking website to 1[or about]1 a person located in New Jersey who 1[is,] the actor knows1 or 1[who the actor reasonably believes to be] should know is1 less than 13 years of age, or 1is1 at least 13 but less than 16 years old and at least four years younger than the actor.
A person who transmits a sexually offensive communication in violation of this subsection shall be liable to the social networking website operator in a civil action for damages of $1,000, plus reasonable attorney’s fees, for each violation.
A person who transmits a sexually offensive communication in violation of this subsection shall also be liable to the recipient of the communication in a civil action for damages in the amount of $5,000, plus reasonable attorney’s fees, or actual damages, whichever is greater.
Actual damages shall consist of compensatory and punitive damages and costs of suit, including reasonable attorney’s fees. Compensatory damages may include, but are not limited to, damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses, emotional trauma, diminished childhood, diminished enjoyment of life, costs of counseling, and lost wages.
1Nothing in this section shall be construed to apply to any provider or user of an interactive computer service with respect to information provided by another information content provider.1
3. No person shall transmit 1[an abusive] a harassing1 communication through a social networking website to or about a person located in New Jersey 1[who is, or who the actor reasonably believes to be less than 18 years of age]1.
4. a. Except as provided in subsection b. of this section, it shall be an unlawful practice and a violation of P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.) for a social networking website operator to fail to revoke, in the most expedient time possible without unreasonable delay, the website access of any user or 1[third party] visitor1 upon receipt of information that provides a reasonable basis to conclude that the user or 1[third party] visitor1 has violated section 2 or section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).
b. A social networking website operator shall not be deemed to be in violation of subsection a. of this section if the operator maintains a reporting mechanism available to the user that meets the following requirements:
(1) the social networking website displays, in a conspicuous location, a readily identifiable icon or link that enables a user or third party to report to the social networking website operator a sexually offensive 1communication1 or 1[abusive] harassing1 communication transmitted through the social networking website;
(2) the operator conducts a review, in the most expedient time possible without unreasonable delay, of any report by a user or 1[third party] visitor1, including investigation and referral to law enforcement if appropriate, and provides users and 1[third parties] visitors1 with the opportunity to determine the status of the operator’s review or investigation of any such report; and
(3) the mechanism provides the means to enable a user to block communications from 1[third parties] visitors1 whom users allege have transmitted a sexually offensive 1communication1 or 1[abusive] harassing1 communication.
c. A social networking website operator that does not maintain a reporting mechanism that meets the requirements set forth in subsection b. of this section shall include on its website, in a clear and conspicuous manner, a statement notifying users that the website does not maintain a reporting mechanism that comports with New Jersey state law provisions to protect users against sexually offensive 1communications1 and 1[abusive] harassing1 communications.
1d. Nothing in P.L. , c. (C. )(pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall be construed to permit a civil action against an interactive computer service that is inconsistent with the provisions of 47 U.S.C.§230 (c). 1
5. A social networking website operator or any employee or agent thereof who reports information to law enforcement concerning an allegation that a user or 1[third party] visitor1 has violated section 2 or section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) is immune from civil and criminal liability arising from such report, unless the person acts in bad faith or with malicious purpose.
6. For the purposes of this act:
a. “Operator” means any person, business or organization qualified to do business in this State that operates a social networking website.
b. “Social networking website” means a website 1[which is accessible to third parties and] located on the Internet1 on which users 1[under the age of 18]1 located in New Jersey may 1[post] create a searchable profile, page or similar account that is accessible to other users or visitors to the website and share1 personal information 1with other users or visitors,1 and through which 1[third parties] other users or visitors1 may communicate 1directly1 with such users.
c. 1[“Abusive communication”] “Harassing communication”1 means any communication which 1is directed at a specific person, serves no legitimate purpose, and1 a reasonable person would believe is intended to threaten, intimidate or harass another person.
d. “Sexually offensive communication” means any communication which a reasonable person would believe is intended to solicit or request a person to engage in sexual activity, and any communication 1[which transmits obscene material as defined in N.J.S.2C:34-3] depicting or describing nudity, sexual conduct or sexual excitement when it: (1) predominantly appeals to a prurient interest in sex; (2) is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable material or conduct for minors; and (3) taken as a whole, is without serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value for minors1.
e. 1[“Third party”] “Visitor”1 means a person other than the user or the operator, or an employee of the operator 1who accesses a social networking website1 .
f. “User” means a person located in this State who establishes on a social networking website 1[an online] a1 profile, page or similar account 1that is accessible to other users or visitors to the website and1 on which the user may 1[post] share1 personal information 1[, and which may be viewed by third parties] with other users and visitors1.
1g. "Interactive computer service" means any information service, system, or access software provider that provides or enables computer access by multiple users to a computer server, including specifically a service or system that provides access to the Internet and such systems operated or services offered by libraries or educational institutions.
h. “Information content provider” means any person or entity that is responsible, in whole or in part, for the creation or development of information provided through the Internet or any other interactive computer service.
i. “Internet” means the international computer network of both federal and non-federal interoperable packet switched data networks. 1
7. This act shall take effect immediately.