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Friday, December 14, 2012
by Michael Loatman
social media password protection bill was sparked by reports that a
state agency asked an employee to provide his social media user
names and passwords when he returned from a voluntary leave of
absence. The incident attracted national attention, and state
legislatures across the nation started considering similar
California and Illinois subsequently joined Maryland in enacting laws limiting employer
access to social media login credentials.
Despite the public-employer genesis
of Maryland's statute, the California law does not regulate state
agency access to an employee's social media accounts. Earlier this
month, California Assembly Member Nora Campos (D) introduced A.B. 25, which would apply the new password protection
provisions to public employees.
"California's unique constitutional
right to privacy should extend into the digital age and apply
evenly," Campos said in a Dec. 3 statement introducing A.B. 25.
"Every employee, regardless of who employs them, deserves the same
Her swift move to amend the law is
notable, in part, because Campos was the sponsor of the Assembly's
password protection bill, A.B. 1844, during the prior legislative session.
New Jersey Joins States
In September, California Gov. Jerry
Brown (D) signed into law a companion bill, S.B. 1349, which applied similar social media privacy
protections to current and prospective students in the higher
education setting. Delaware until recently had been the only other
state with a similar law.
That changed earlier this month when
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed A. 2879, which regulates higher education institutions' access to
student or applicant social media accounts.
Copyright 2012, The Bureau of
National Affairs, Inc.
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