Lost in the shuffle of Gov. Chris Christie's presidential campaign launch and the finalization of the state budget was the Assembly's passage of a measure designed to protect your personal information. The bill would put strict limits on the info New Jersey companies can collect when they scan a driver's license or credit card.

Credit cards
Array of credit cards (Photo by Medioimages/Photodisc, ThinkStock)

"It's limited to the person's name, address, date of birth and the identification card number, because establishments should only be allowed to scan to verify the authenticity of the actual card, to make sure the person is who they say they are and to verify the proper age," said bill co-sponsor, Assemblyman Joe Lagana (D-Paramus).

New Jersey's current identity theft law only requires that a consumer and the state police must be notified in the case of a security breach related to a computer record of personal information. Lagana wants the law to apply to any information, regardless of whether or not it's kept on a computer. His legislation says that any information which is collected and may be kept by a retailer must be securely stored, and any security breach must be reported to any affected person and the state police.

"We have to make sure retail establishments are doing what they have to do to protect the consumers by safely storing whatever information they're collecting," Lagana said. "Now, driver's licenses are being scanned and nobody really knows what's happening with the information they're collecting, or what they're using it for.

The bill is also sponsored by Assembly members Carmelo Garcia (D-Hoboken), Bob Andrzejczak (D-Cape May Court House) and John McKeon (D-Madison). It was approved by the full Assembly 77-0-1 on June 25. The Senate version of the legislation was also introduced in June, but has not yet been heard in committee.

"Driver's licenses contain personal information that, in the wrong hands, can create major financial headaches for the person affected," Garcia said. "With so many security breaches at stores like Target and Home Depot, it is wise that we set limits on how much personal information these companies can collect from customers, in order to minimize the potential for identity fraud."

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