(TRENTON) – Assemblywoman Annette Quijano on Monday said she held her legislation to increase awareness of technology that can record and monitor student and employee activities so that it can be refined, but that it will move forward in the coming weeks.
Quijano said she hoped to hear from New Jerseyans on their ideas to improve the bill’s notification requirements and asked residents to e-mail her office at aswquijano@njleg.org.
Quijano’s Anti-Big Brother Act (A-3122) would require a school district and employer furnishing a laptop computer, cellular telephone or other electronic device to provide the student and employee with written notice that it may record or collect information, if the device is equipped with a camera, global positioning system or other similar feature.
The bill stems from incidents such as the recent one in the Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvania in which cameras in laptops furnished by the school district recorded activity by students without the students realizing that the activity was being recorded.
Images from the camera were transmitted to administrators of the school district.
The bill was scheduled to be heard Monday by the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee but Quijano held it for further discussion.
“We cannot stop the march of technology that while helpful and innovative, also unfortunately can prove evasive to our private lives,” said Quijano (D-Union). “Children are especially vulnerable to not understanding the danger of technology invading their privacy. With this law on the intersection of privacy rights and technology, we will make clear to everyone that it’s a possibility.”
Under the bill, the notice would include a form to be signed by the student’s parent or guardian and returned to the school district acknowledging receipt of the form, which shall be retained by the school district.
But Quijano said she was interested in hearing other ways to handle the notification requirements, and asked residents to submit ideas by e-mailing her office at aswquijano@njleg.org. She asked residents to include their name and phone number.
“It’s being held for now so we can continue to hear input from everyone involved and make this bill the best it can possibly be, but it’s my intention to continue moving it forward in the coming weeks,” Quijano said. “I welcome all input. This is why committee hearings are important. It puts a spotlight on issues and starts people talking about issues.”
Quijano said she will also discuss the bill with the Senate sponsor, Sen. Donald Norcross (D-Camden/Gloucester).
An employer or a school district failing to provide the written notification required by this bill would be subject to a fine of $250.
“Notification and education is the best defense against invasive technology,” Quijano said. “With this bill, no one – employer, school district, student or employee – will have any excuse not to be aware of the potential problems with laptop or cellular telephone. This will be a major step toward avoiding confusion and embarrassment and protect everyone’s rights.”