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INTERNET DATING & DATING INDUSTRY CONFERENCE
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State of New York Senate Bill S5180-A
Internet Dating Safety Act


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5180--A

2009-2010 Regular Sessions

I N   A S S E M B L Y

10-Feb-09

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Introduced by M. of A. PHEFFER, CAMARA, N. RIVERA -- read once and
referred to the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection --
reported and referred to the Committee on Codes -- committee
discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted
to said committee

AN ACT to amend the general business law, in relation to enacting the
"internet dating safety act"

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:


1Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may be cited as
2the "internet dating safety act".
3S 2. Legislative findings and declarations. The legislature finds and
4declares that residents of this state need to be informed of the poten-
5tial risks of participating in internet dating services. The legisla-
6ture further finds and declares that the offer of internet dating
7services to residents of this state, and the acceptance of membership
8fees from residents of this state means that an internet dating service
9is conducting business in this state and is subject to regulation by
10this state and the jurisdiction of the state's courts.
11S 3. The general business law is amended by adding a new section 394-
12cc to read as follows:
13S 394-CC. INTERNET DATING SAFETY. 1. AS USED IN THIS SECTION, THE
14FOLLOWING TERMS SHALL HAVE THE FOLLOWING MEANINGS:
15(A) "INTERNET DATING SERVICE" MEANS A PERSON OR ENTITY DIRECTLY OR
16INDIRECTLY IN THE BUSINESS, FOR PROFIT, OF OFFERING, PROMOTING OR
17PROVIDING ACCESS TO DATING, RELATIONSHIP, COMPATIBILITY, MATRIMONIAL OR
18SOCIAL REFERRAL SERVICES PRINCIPALLY ON OR THROUGH THE INTERNET.
19(B) "INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER" MEANS ANY PERSON, BUSINESS OR ORGAN-
20IZATION QUALIFIED TO DO BUSINESS IN THIS STATE THAT PROVIDES INDIVID-
21UALS, CORPORATIONS, OR OTHER ENTITIES WITH THE ABILITY TO CONNECT TO THE
22INTERNET THROUGH EQUIPMENT THAT IS LOCATED IN THIS STATE.
 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted.
 LBD04280-03-9
 A. 5180--A 2
1(C) "MEMBER" MEANS A CUSTOMER, CLIENT OR PARTICIPANT WHO SUBMITS TO AN
2INTERNET DATING SERVICE INFORMATION REQUIRED TO ACCESS THE SERVICE FOR
3THE PURPOSE OF ENGAGING IN DATING, RELATIONSHIP, COMPATIBILITY, MATRIMO-
4NIAL OR SOCIAL REFERRAL.
5(D) "NEW YORK MEMBER" MEANS A MEMBER WHO PROVIDES AN IN-STATE BILLING
6ADDRESS OR ZIP CODE WHEN REGISTERING WITH THE SERVICE.
72. AN INTERNET DATING SERVICE OFFERING SERVICES TO NEW YORK MEMBERS
8SHALL PROVIDE SAFETY AWARENESS NOTIFICATION THAT INCLUDES, AT MINIMUM, A
9LIST AND DESCRIPTION OF SAFETY MEASURES REASONABLY DESIGNED TO INCREASE
10AWARENESS OF SAFER DATING PRACTICES IN A CLEAR AND CONSPICUOUS MANNER.
11SUCH NOTIFICATION SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, THE FOLLOWING
12STATEMENTS OR SUBSTANTIALLY SIMILAR STATEMENTS:
13(A) "THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR ACTING WITH CAUTION WHEN COMMUNICATING
14WITH ANY STRANGER WHO WANTS TO MEET YOU."
15(B) "NEVER INCLUDE YOUR LAST NAME, E-MAIL ADDRESS, HOME ADDRESS, PHONE
16NUMBER, PLACE OF WORK, OR ANY OTHER IDENTIFYING INFORMATION IN YOUR
17INTERNET PROFILE OR INITIAL E-MAIL MESSAGES. STOP COMMUNICATING WITH
18ANYONE WHO PRESSURES YOU FOR PERSONAL OR FINANCIAL INFORMATION OR
19ATTEMPTS IN ANY WAY TO TRICK YOU INTO REVEALING IT."
20(C) "IF YOU CHOOSE TO HAVE A FACE-TO-FACE MEETING WITH ANOTHER MEMBER,
21ALWAYS TELL SOMEONE IN YOUR FAMILY OR A FRIEND WHERE YOU ARE GOING AND
22WHEN YOU WILL RETURN. NEVER AGREE TO BE PICKED UP AT YOUR HOME. ALWAYS
23PROVIDE YOUR OWN TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM YOUR DATE AND MEET IN A
24PUBLIC PLACE WITH MANY PEOPLE AROUND."
25SUCH NOTIFICATION SHALL BE GIVEN AT THE TIME A NEW YORK MEMBER REGIS-
26TERS WITH THE SERVICE AND BY WAY OF A LINK ON THE MAIN WEBSITE, OR THE
27FIRST ENTRY POINT, OF THE SERVICE.
283. (A) THE ATTORNEY GENERAL MAY BRING AN ACTION AGAINST AN INTERNET
29DATING SERVICE THAT VIOLATES THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION:
30(I) TO ENJOIN FURTHER VIOLATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION; AND
31(II) TO RECOVER UP TO TWO HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS FOR EACH NEW YORK
32MEMBER REGISTERED WITH THE INTERNET DATING SERVICE DURING THE TIME PERI-
33OD THAT THE INTERNET DATING SERVICE WAS IN VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION.
34(B) IN AN ACTION UNDER SUBPARAGRAPH (II) OF PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS
35SUBDIVISION, A COURT MAY INCREASE THE DAMAGES UP TO THREE TIMES THE
36DAMAGES ALLOWED BY SUCH PARAGRAPH WHERE THE DEFENDANT HAS BEEN FOUND TO
37HAVE ENGAGED IN A PATTERN AND PRACTICE OF VIOLATING THE PROVISIONS OF
38THIS SECTION.
39(C) NO INTERNET DATING SERVICE SHALL BE DEEMED TO HAVE VIOLATED THE
40PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION IF SUCH INTERNET DATING SERVICE SHOWS, BY A
41PREPONDERANCE OF THE EVIDENCE, THAT THE VIOLATION WAS NOT INTENTIONAL
42AND RESULTED FROM A BONA FIDE ERROR MADE NOTWITHSTANDING THE MAINTENANCE
43OF PROCEDURES REASONABLY ADOPTED TO AVOID SUCH ERROR.
44(D) NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO RESTRICT ANY RIGHT
45WHICH ANY PERSON MAY HAVE UNDER ANY OTHER STATUTE OR COMMON LAW.
464. AN INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER DOES NOT VIOLATE THIS SECTION SOLELY
47AS A RESULT OF SERVING AS AN INTERMEDIARY FOR THE TRANSMISSION OF ELEC-
48TRONIC MESSAGES BETWEEN MEMBERS OF AN INTERNET DATING SERVICE.
49S 4. This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after
50it shall have become a law; provided, however, that effective immediate-
51ly, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation
52necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective date is
53authorized and directed to be made and completed on or before such
54effective date.



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