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New Jersey passes comprehensive privacy law

The bill was signed into law on January 16, becoming the first comprehensive state privacy law to pass in 2024

Alexis Kateifides
Center of Excellence Program Director
January 18, 2024

Photo of a statehouse's neoclassical roof with columns.

On January 16, 2024, Senate Bill 332 was signed by New Jersey Governor Philip D. Murphy, becoming the first comprehensive state privacy law to pass in 2024 and adding to the 13 existing state laws already in place. The law will now enter into effect 365 days after enactment. 

The bill was first introduced in 2022 and has seen several rounds of amendments before passing through the Assembly and Senate. The bill bears much similarity to other state privacy laws – data minimization, purpose limitation, notices, consumer rights, data protection assessments, and vendor management are all key provisions. However, the bill does have some notable differences, for example, regarding scope of applicability and rulemaking. 

 

Who does the New Jersey privacy bill apply to?

The New Jersey privacy bill will apply to controllers that conduct business in the state of New Jersey or produce products or services that are targeted to residents of New Jersey. Covered organizations must also meet certain thresholds during a calendar year, including:

  • controlling or processing the personal data of at least 100,000 consumers, (excluding payment transactions);

or

  • controlling or processing the personal data of at least 25,000 consumers and deriving revenue or receiving a discount on the price of any goods or services, from the sale of personal data.

On the latter provision, while most other states include a threshold in relation to revenue, New Jersey seems to follow Colorado in this respect. 

 

Key requirements of the privacy bill in NJ 

 

Notice

Transparency is a key requirement of the bill and controllers will be required to provide consumers with a “reasonably accessible, clear, and meaningful privacy notice”. Such notice must include the following information at a minimum: 

  1. The categories of the personal data processed;

  2. The purpose for processing personal data; 

  3. The categories of the third parties that a consumer’s personal data may be disclosed to;

  4. The categories of personal data that the controller shares with these third parties;

  5. Information relating to how consumers may exercise their consumer rights and how to appeal a decision;

  6. The controller’s contact information;

  7. Details for how the controller will notify the consumer when changes are made to the notice; and

  8. An active email address or other online mechanism that the consumer can contact the controller when required

When a controller either sells personal data to others or uses it for things like targeted advertising or profiling for decisions that have a major impact on their customers, they must clearly disclose to their customers that they are doing this. They also need to explain how customers can opt out of this selling or processing of their data.

 

Consumer rights

As with other states, consumers in New Jersey have several rights regarding personal data when it comes to how organizations handle it:

  1. Right to access

  2. Right to correction

  3. Right to deletion

  4. Right to data portability

  5. Right to opt-out of the processing of personal data for:

    • Targeted advertising;

    • Sale of personal data; or

    • Profiling for decisions that have significant impacts on you

Controllers must respond to verified requests within 45 days. This can be extended by another 45 days if needed, based on complexity or number of the consumer’s requests. However, consumers need to be informed of this extension and the reasons why. Information should be provided free of charge once per consumer in any 12-month period.

 

Data protection assessments

Under the bill, a controller must not carry out any processing that presents a “heightened risk of harm to a consumer” without conducting a detailed data protection assessment. 

A balancing exercise between the benefits and risks of processing the personal data must be done and which should consider:

  • How the processing benefits the controller, consumer, others involved, and the public.

  • The potential risks to consumer rights, and how these risks can be minimized.

  • The use of de-identified data, what consumers would normally expect them to do with their data, the context in which they're processing it, and their relationship with their consumers.

As for what is defined as “heightened risk”, the bill notes the following activities would be considered high risk:

  • Using personal data for targeted ads or profiling that could lead to unfair treatment, financial or physical harm, invasion of privacy, or other significant injuries.

  • Selling personal data.

  • Processing sensitive data.

The bill does note that if the controller has several similar processing activities, these may be covered in a single assessment.

 

Enforcement and rulemaking

 

Cure Period

For the first 18 months after the law takes effect, if the Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) in the Department of Law and Public Safety identifies a potential violation, they will first notify the controller if a cure to resolve the issue is deemed possible. A period of 30 days is granted to address and correct the violation. If the issue isn't resolved within this period, the DCA can then proceed with formal enforcement actions.

Similar to Colorado again, the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs is responsible for creating rules and regulations to implement the purposes of this law. Enforcement of this law falls exclusively to the Office of the Attorney General, and the bill does not create a basis for private individuals to sue companies for violations. 

 

What’s next and what can your organization do to prepare?

New Jersey is the next state law to formalize their privacy regulations in an ever-growing list in the United States. The bill mentions that it will go into effect 365 days after it’s signed by the Governor, giving companies time to prepare for compliance measures. Start keeping your data processes privacy compliant with the OneTrust Privacy & Data Governance Cloud. With data mapping and data governance solutions to identify where your data lives, what regulations you need to be compliant, and automating processes to ensure compliance across your organization, OneTrust helps organizations go beyond compliance with regulations around the world. 

To keep track of all the current privacy regulations in the US, download our comprehensive US privacy law book today. 


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