STATE LEGISLATURES CONTINUE EMBRACING PASSWORD PRIVACY BILLS

Laws limiting employer access to the login credentials for employees’ personal social media accounts have spread across the nation since Maryland’s first-in-the-nation law was enacted in 2012.

Almost 20 states have a password privacy law affecting employers. These laws differ in the exact details but most cover current and prospective employees. The laws usually provide exceptions for employers when investigating workplace misconduct or complying with applicable federal or state law.

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Many states have laws restricting educational institutions—often limited to colleges and universities—from accessing the login credentials of current students and applicants. Wisconsin legislators also restricted landlords’ access to the personal social media accounts of tenants.

The number of social media privacy laws may continue to grow in 2015. The Virginia House of Delegates unanimously approved a social media privacy bill (H.B. 2081) on Feb. 2.

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