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Thursday, August 2, 2012
by Michael Loatman
Illinois is now the second state
after Maryland to limit employer access to the social media
accounts of employees and job applicants after Gov. Pat Quinn (D)
Aug. 1 signed into law H.B. 3782, which amends the Illinois Right to Privacy in the
The new law, effective Jan. 1, 2013,
adds a provision that makes it "unlawful for any employer to
request or require any employee or prospective employee to provide
any password or other related [social networking] account
information in order to gain access . . . or to demand access in
any manner" to such an account.
"Members of the workforce should not
be punished for information their employers don't legally have the
right to have," Quinn said in a statement. "As use of social media
continues to expand, this new law will protect workers and their
right to personal privacy."
Similar laws are being considered
across multiple state legislatures and in Congress. Delaware recently became the first state with a law protecting the social media accounts of students and applicants
to post-secondary schools. Gov. Jack Markell (D) July 20 signed that bill, the Education Privacy Act, after it was passed
unanimously by both houses of the state Legislature.
Password protection bills governing
the employer-employee relationship also have passed at least one
chamber in California and New York. In addition, the New Jersey
Assembly recently passed two bills-one focused on higher education
institutions and the other on the employee-employer
Copyright 2012, The Bureau of
National Affairs, Inc.
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