TRENTON - A New Jersey Senate panel is considering a bill that would make online harassment a crime.
The Budget Committee approved the proposal after a public hearing at the State House Thursday. The bill specifies that cyberharassment occurs when someone uses a smartphone, tablet or computer to harass, threaten or post lewd information about another person.
Victims of online harassment say it’s time for the law to catch up with technology. "This law is extremely important for people like myself that have gone through this," says Steven Hobby, of Wharton, who says his harassment started with an online purchase. "It wasn't any good because he misrepresented it on eBay, I asked for my money back and my wife and family have been terrorized ever since."
Adults convicted of cyberharassment would be fined up to $10,000 with jail time possible. Minors would be required to complete a class on the dangers of online bullying.
Adults who impersonate minors to harass someone else online could receive a stiffer penalty.
The bill, which was introduced early this year, has bipartisan sponsorship. A companion bill is pending in the Assembly.