N.J. Legislature Tables Anti-Surveillance Bill

May 12, 2006
Bill would have criminalized surveillance of a company's security or operating procedures

A bill in New Jersey that would have made it a crime of "extended surveillance" of potential terrorist targets has been put on hold.

The bill, introduced by N.J. Sate Sen. Fred Madden would have made "related conduct for the purpose of collecting information about the security or operating procedures" a fourth-degree crime, if such surveillance was performed at select facilities.

According to Madden the bill's intent was to protect against surveillance performed to aid in terrorism, but widespread outcry noted that the bill could have been used against whistle blowers, the media and even environmental groups seeking to collect data on how a business operated.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Trenton, N.J. bureau, the bill has been tabled by a State Senate committee, and the bill will have the chance to be "reworked".

The bill was criticized for its vagueness, specifically on the definition of what an "extended period of time" would mean. The issue of surveillance at buildings has become a regular concern for many security directors who now watch public areas outside their perimeters for potential terrorist targeting, and who have become increasingly aware of what cameras on their premises can mean.