TRENTON – A bill designed to protect students’ privacy when in possession of school-issued computers was one of three bills signed into law today.
A2932/2057, the Anti-Big Brother Act, requires school officials to provide a student with a written notice that the device might record information regarding that student’s activity if it has a camera or similar device.
“We cannot stop the march of technology that, while helpful and innovative, also unfortunately can prove invasive to our private lives,” said co-sponsor Assemblywoman Annette Quijano in a release.
“Children are especially vulnerable to not understanding the danger of technology invading their privacy. With this law, we will make clear to everyone that it’s a possibility.”
The written notice must also 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.
Penalties for violations include a fine of $250 per incident, per child, which will be deposited in a fund to provide laptops to disadvantaged students.
The bill was inspired by the incident in Lower Merion in Pennsylvania in which school-issued computers recorded student images and transmitted them to officials.
The written notice mandated by this legislation requires the school district to inform the student that their privacy will not be invaded.
Jobs training bill
Christie also signed into law S2366/A3744, which creates the New Jersey Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training Provider Demonstration Project Act.
Under the project, the state Department of Human Services will partner with local agencies, non-profits and colleges and universities to provide food stamp recipients with job training funded by private foundations like the Nicholson Foundation with matching grants from the federal government.
The bill’s sponsors hailed the legislation as a proposal that will expand a job training program by attracting private funds to be matched by federal dollars.
Farmland property tax break
Lastly, Christie also signed into law S589/A3090, which raises the threshold to qualify for farmland tax credits in the state.