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Friday, July 6, 2012
by Michael Loatman
Schools will be unable to request
user names or passwords from applicants or students if Gov. Jack
Markell (D) signs a bill that unanimously passed both chambers of
the Delaware Legislature.
The Delaware measure is just one of
the many password protection bills that recently have been
introduced in multiple states and Congress. All would prohibit
employers or school officials from requesting or demanding access
to the social media accounts of employees, job applicants, current
students, or prospective students.
The Education Privacy Act, H.B. 309, will apply only to colleges or universities. The
House version of the bill also included primary and secondary
schools, but the Senate rejected the broader coverage.
The state legislature never set a
floor vote on a companion bill, H.B. 308, before the current session ended July 1. That bill
would have prohibited employers from mandating social media
information from current or prospective employees.
A Markell spokesman told BNA that
the governor supports the student password protection bill in
concept, but will not make a decision on whether to sign the bill
until he has reviewed the details. If signed into law, the bill
will join Maryland's first-in-the-nation password protection law, which becomes effective Oct. 1.
In a BNA Insights article, Philip L.
Gordon and Lauren K. Woon of Littler Mendelson argue that the
popularity of password protection bills in the employer-employee
context are misguided. They say the bills are aimed at fighting a
problem that does not exist. Instead, a report published by Littler shows that 99 percent of
surveyed high-level corporate executives do not request social
Thus, the duo said, legislators may
have "jumped the gun."
Copyright 2012, The Bureau of
National Affairs, Inc.
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