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Greenstein Bill to Protect Consumers’ Personal Information Now Law


Personal Information Privacy and Protection Act (PIPPA) Limits Retailers’ Collection & Use of Personal Data


 TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Linda R. Greenstein that places restrictions on the way retailers may collect and use the personal information contained in the electronic data embedded in identification cards, such as driver’s licenses, has been signed into law by the Governor.

“Too often consumers’ personal information is sold to marketers or other interests without their knowledge or consent,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer and Middlesex), chair of the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee. “This law will rightly prohibit retailers from selling or otherwise using this information other than for purposes of identification.”

Under the new law (S-1913) – called the Personal Information Privacy and Protection Act (PIPPA) – personal information, such as date of birth or address, can be requested and used by retailers for purposes of identification in instances that include the purchase of age-restricted goods or to verify an individual where payment is made by debit or credit cards.

But that information can no longer be shared for something outside the immediate business relationship between the consumer and the retailer.

“Years ago, I led the fight against telemarketers disrupting our families’ lives at dinner and around-the-clock through the creation of the nation’s strongest Do Not Call list,” Greenstein added. “We fought for this new law in that same spirit. We have to keep up with technology being used for means other than it was intended. In this case, we are cracking down on establishments using consumers’ information without permission to hound them into purchases or unwanted offers later.”

A violation of the Personal Information Privacy and Protection Act will result in civil penalties of up to $2,200 for a first offense and $5,000 for any subsequent offense. Additionally, the law provides that any person aggrieved by a violation may bring an action in Superior Court to recover damages.

The bill was signed into law Friday. It will take effect on the first day of the third month following the date of enactment.