Tag Archives: social media

Illinois Law Limits School Requests for Social Media Passwords

Effective January 1, 2014, Illinois H.B. 64 prohibits post-secondary schools from requesting or requiring that a student or their parent or guardian provide a password or other related account information in order to gain access to the student’s account or profile on a social networking website, or demanding access in any manner to a student’s social media website account or profile. Certain exceptions apply.

H.B. 64 also requires that an elementary or secondary school provide notification to the student and their parent or guardian that the school may request or require a student to provide a password or other related account information in order to gain access to the student’s account or profile on a social networking website. Such requests or requirements are only allowed if the school has reasonable cause to believe that the student’s account contains evidence that the student has violated a school disciplinary rule or policy. The notification must be published in the elementary or secondary school’s disciplinary rules, policies, or handbook or communicated by similar means.

The US CIO Council Publishes Privacy Best Practices for Social Media Guide

The U.S. Federal CIO Council (a resource for information on Federal IT) has published (announcement) a new guide: Privacy Best Practices for Social Media. The guide covers privacy best practices for establishing a social media program, including pulling together an intra-agency team of experts, establishing internal social media polices, and ensuring transparency through the use of published privacy notices and documentation. Appendices C and D include useful lists of and links to additional related materials.

Oregon Passes Social Media Password Law

With effect on January 1, 2014, Oregon law H.B. 2654 prohibits employers from requesting passwords from employees or applicants, requiring that they add the employer to a social media contact list, or disciplining or failing to hire employees or applicants because they refused to provide access to their personal social media account. Employers are prohibited from requiring individuals to access a personal social media account in the presence of the employer, unless such access is part of an investigation to ensure compliance with laws, regulations or employer policies and the employer has specific information about activity on the employee’s account. Employers may require an employee to disclose log-in information to an account provided or used by or on behalf of the employer.

Nevada Passes Social Media Password Protection Law

With effect on October 1, 2013, Nevada law prohibits employers from requesting or requiring that applicants or employees provide their user name, password, or other information needed to gain access to a personal social media account, as well as adverse employment action based upon a refusal to comply with such a request. The law defines “social media” broadly as “any electronic service or account or electronic content, including, without limitation, videos, photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, electronic mail programs or services, online services or Internet website profiles.” The law does not apply to non-personal accounts, and does not “prevent an employer from complying with any state or federal law or regulation or with any rule of a self-regulatory organization.”

New Jersey Passes Social Media Law

New Jersey has passed a social media law that prohibits employers from requiring current or prospective employees to disclose their user name, password, or other means for accessing social media account or services through electronic communications device. Specifically, and among other things, no employer shall:

  • Require or request a current or prospective employee to provide or disclose any user name or password, or in any way provide the employer access to, a personal account;
  • In any way inquire as to whether a current or prospective employee disclose whether the employee has a personal account or profile on a social networking website;
  • Require an individual to waive or limit any protection granted under this act as a condition of applying for or receiving an offer of employment.

Washington Passes Social Media Law

The state of Washington has passed Senate bill 5211 making it illegal for employers or potential employers to request, require, or otherwise coerce an employee or applicant to disclose login information for their personal social networking accounts, or request, require, or coerce the individual to access such accounts in the employer’s presence. The bill does allow employers to ask for content in the case of an internal investigation against an employee.

Arkansas Enacts Social Media Law

Arkansas has added a section to Arkansas Code Title 6, Chapter 60, Subchapter 1 regarding social media accounts of current and prospective students or employees.  Public and private post-secondary institutions may not “require, request, suggest, or cause” current or prospective employees or students to disclose usernames or passwords to their social media accounts. These institutions also may not, among other things, require current or prospective students to change their account privacy settings or add school officials to their contact lists as a condition of participating in extracurricular activities, or otherwise penalize a current student for exercising his or her rights under the amendment.

New Mexico Law Protects Prospective Employee Social Networking Accounts

New Mexico is now the sixth state to prohibit employers from mandating access to a job applicant’s password-protected social media account. The law makes it unlawful for an employer to (a) request or require that a prospective employee divulge a password allowing access to his or her account or profile on a social networking Web site, or (b) demand access in any other manner to a prospective employee’s account or profile on a social networking Web site. The law however does not limit an employer’s right to have policies regarding work place Internet usage, including social networking sites and email; monitor usage of the employer’s electronic equipment and email; and obtain information about a prospective employee that is in the public domain. The law does not apply to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.