Senator NIA H. GILL
District 34 (Essex and Passaic)
Senator PETER J. BARNES, III
District 18 (Middlesex)
Enacts the “Reader Privacy Act.”
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
As reported by the Senate Commerce Committee on March 17, 2014, with amendments.
An Act concerning reader privacy and supplementing P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.).
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. This act shall be known as the “Reader Privacy Act.”
2. As used in this act:
“Book” means paginated or similarly organized content in printed, audio, electronic, or other format, including fiction, nonfiction, academic, or other works of the type normally published in a volume or finite number of volumes, excluding serial publications such as a magazine or newspaper.
“Book service” means a service that, as its primary purpose, provides the rental, purchase, borrowing, browsing, or viewing of books. “Book service” does not include a store that sells a variety of consumer products when the book service sales do not exceed two percent of the store’s total annual gross sales of consumer products sold in the United States.
“Government entity” means any State, or local unit of government or any agency or instrumentality thereof.
“Law enforcement entity” means any law enforcement officer of the State of New Jersey or of a political subdivision thereof who is empowered by law to conduct criminal investigations, or to make arrests, and any attorney authorized by law to prosecute or participate in the prosecution of criminal offenses.
“Personal information” means: (1) any information that identifies, relates to, describes, or is associated with a particular user of a book service; (2) a unique identifier or Internet Protocol address, when that identifier or address is used to identify, relate to, describe, or be associated with a particular user or book, in whole or in partial form; (3) any information that relates to, or is capable of being associated with, a particular book service user’s access.
“Provider” means any commercial entity offering a book service to the public.
3. a. A provider shall only disclose personal information of a book service user to a law enforcement entity pursuant to a court order. A court shall only issue an order if it finds that:
(1) Probable cause exists to believe the personal information requested is relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation;
(2) The law enforcement entity seeking disclosure has a compelling interest in obtaining the personal information sought;
(3) The personal information sought cannot be obtained through less intrusive means; and
(4) The law enforcement entity affords, in a timely manner, the provider with notice of the proceeding to allow the provider the opportunity to appear and contest the issuance of the order.
b. The court order may only be executed if, contemporaneously with its execution, the law enforcement entity notifies the book service user of the order and informs the provider of this notification, unless there is a judicial determination of a necessity to delay notification for a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 90 days.
4. a. A provider shall only disclose the personal information of a book service user to a government entity, other than a law enforcement entity, or to a person or private entity pursuant to a court order in a pending action brought by the government entity or by the person or private entity. A court shall only issue an order if it finds that:
(1) The person or entity seeking disclosure has a compelling interest in obtaining the personal information sought;
(2) The personal information cannot be obtained through less intrusive means; and
(3) The person or entity affords, in a timely manner, the provider with notice of the proceeding to allow the provider the opportunity to appear and contest the issuance of the order.
b. Upon issuance of the court order, the personal information may only be disclosed if the provider gives timely notice to the book service user about the issuance of the order and the ability to move the court to quash or modify the order. The user shall have 30 days following notification to so move the court.
c. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. or b. of this section, a provider serving an institution of higher education shall not be required to obtain a court order whenever the provider is required to disclose information to a government entity in order to be reimbursed for the sale or rental of a book that was purchased or rented by a student using book vouchers or other financial aid subsidies for books.
5. A provider shall disclose the personal information of a book service user to any person, private entity or government entity, including a law enforcement entity, if the user has given his or her informed consent to the specific disclosure for the specific purpose.
6. A provider shall disclose the personal information of a book service user to a government entity, including a law enforcement entity, if the government entity asserts, and the provider in good faith believes, that there is an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury requiring the immediate disclosure of the requested personal information and there is insufficient time to obtain a court order. The government entity shall provide the provider with a written statement setting forth the facts giving rise to the emergency upon request or no later than 48 hours after seeking disclosure.
7. A provider may disclose personal information of a book service user to a law enforcement entity if the provider in good faith believes that the personal information is evidence directly related to a crime against the provider or that user.
8. a. A violation of this act shall be punishable by a 1[fine] civil penalty1 of $500 per violation, to be collected in a civil action by summary proceeding 1[under] pursuant to1 the “Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999,” P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.).
b. In addition to the penalty described in subsection a. of this section, 1[any book service user aggrieved by a violation of this act may recover, in a civil action, $500 per violation and the costs of the action together with reasonable attorneys’ fees as determined by]1 the court 1may impose an additional civil penalty of $500 per violation, which shall, upon collection, be distributed to the book service user aggrieved by the violation. Nothing in this act shall preclude a book service user aggrieved by a violation from instituting a separate civil action in the Superior Court to recover damages, reasonable attorneys fees or costs related to the violation.1
9. This act shall take effect immediately.