National Consumer Protection Week Kicks off with “Cyber Safe NJ”
Website Launched by New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs
NEWARK – The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs today kicked off National Consumer
Protection Week by launching a “Cyber Safe NJ” website with important information New Jerseyans can use to protect themselves against identity theft, unlawful invasions of privacy,
and other computer- and internet-related violations of their rights.
The website, at www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov/cybersafe, includes important tips on
safeguarding the personal information stored in consumers’ computers and other electronic
“Personal information is the most valuable currency in the online world. Identity thieves launch
sophisticated attacks to obtain Social Security and credit card information. Some businesses
have violated privacy laws while seeking to profile and advertise to consumers,” New Jersey
Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said. “We are commemorating National Consumer
Protection Week by giving New Jerseyans the vital information they need to protect themselves
against cyber fraud and unlawful invasions of privacy.”
The Division of Consumer Affairs’ Cyber Safe NJ website is found at
www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov/cybersafe. Separate sections include The Basics of CyberSafety, Preventing Identity Theft, and Controlling Your Privacy.
“The Division of Consumer Affairs continues to fight for the protection of consumer privacy, and
to investigate the ever more innovative and subtle methods that have been used to record or
transmit personal information without consumers’ knowledge or consent,” Eric T. Kanefsky,
Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, said. “This week is about empowering
consumers to take an active role in protecting their information in the online world. As our new
website demonstrates, when used responsibly and carefully, the Internet can remain an
invaluable and indispensable part of our everyday lives.”
The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and Division of Law have fought successfully to protect consumer privacy in recent high-profile cases:
- Children's Mobile Apps: The Division filed actions against two separate mobile app
developers, over apps that were marketed to children. In both cases, the apps allegedly
collected personal information about child users, without obtaining verifiable parental
consent. The first action, filed and resolved in June 2012, is believed to have made New
Jersey the first state in the nation to file and resolve a lawsuit under the Children's
Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) against a mobile app developer. The second action was resolved in November 2013.
- Advertising Cookies: The Division in July 2013 obtained a $1 million settlement with an
online advertising company that used hidden cookies allegedly to bypass the privacy
settings of consumers' web browsers, without the consumers' knowledge or consent.
This made New Jersey is believed to be the first state in the nation to take independent action with regard to an online advertiser accused of engaging in this practice.
- Bitcoin-Mining Malware: The Division in November 2013 is believed to have made
New Jersey the first state in the nation to enter into a settlement with a software
company accused of using malicious software to infect thousands of customer
computers, without their authorization, to mine for bitcoins. The company was also
accused of accessing and monitoring its users’ computers without their authorization or
in excess of the authorization granted by users.
- History Sniffing: The Division in 2013 entered into a settlement with a data analytics
firm, resolving allegations that it engaged in unlawful "history sniffing" to track websites
visited by consumers without their knowledge or consent.
- Google Settlement: New Jersey also served as a member of the Executive Committee
that led a multi-state investigation into allegations that Google unlawfully circumvented the default privacy settings in Safari Web browsers. In November 2013, New Jersey joined with 36 states and the District of Columbia in the resulting $17 million settlement
National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) is a coordinated campaign that encourages
consumers nationwide to take full advantage of their consumer rights and make better-informed
decisions. NCPW 2014 will take place March 2 through March 8, 2014.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504- 6200.
Follow the Division of Consumer Affairs on
Facebook , and check our online calendar of upcoming
Consumer Outreach events.