ASSEMBLYWOMAN MOSQUERA BILL TO EXPAND CYBER-HARASSMENT LAWS TO INCLUDE USE OF SMART TECHNOLOGY CLEARS COMMITTEE
An alarming trend where an abuser uses smart technology as a means to harass another person has inspired legislation, sponsored by Assembly member Gabriela Mosquera, that would expand New Jersey cyber-harassment law to include the use of such gadgets and devices to harass, intimidate and stalk an individual.
The measure cleared the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee Monday.
The bill (A-4448) would expand the crime of cyber-harassment to include tampering or interfering with smart technology for the purpose of harassing another person. Under the bill, cyber-harassment would be a crime of the fourth degree if, with the purpose to harass another and in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm, a person tampers or interferes with, any software, computer, cell phone or any other electronic device.
Cyber-harassment is also a base offense for domestic violence under current law. This measure would also cover the misuse of Internet connected locks, thermostats, lights, speakers and cameras used to harass another person which we often see in domestic abuse situations.
“There are countless ways a domestic violence offender asserts control and torments their victim. Now, with technological advancement, many are using digital tools to psychologically intimidate, harass and stalk,” said Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester). “Many women have come forward to tell their stories of abuse. We know now that abuse and intimidation can take on many forms, including this one.”
The bill defines, an “electronic device” to include but is not limited to, a smart home device or system, home security system, computer, digital camera, wireless or portable equipment, entertainment systems or any other device that is capable of transmitting, receiving, or recording messages, images, sounds, data, or other information by electronic means.
The measure will now head to the Assembly Speaker for further review.