Facebook-Privacy Laws: Update

Facebook-Privacy Laws: Update

Legislation, both state and federal, prohibiting employers from requesting an employee's or applicant's password continues to make progress. In Particular, the pending bills in California and New Jersey passed to the next level of their respective legislatures yesterday. The first two federal bills of this type of failed but, fear not, a new version has been introduced. Gone is SNOPA; the Password Protection Act of 2012 was introduced earlier this week. In an effort to keep up, I've put together the list below, which includes a reference to each of the states with pending legislation of which I'm aware:

California
Bill: Social Media Privacy Act
Date: May 10
Status: Unanimiously passed the State Assembly
Applies to: Employers; Post-secondar educational institutions
Other: Prohibition against "otherwise asking for access" to an account

Delaware
Bill: HB 308
Date: Apr. 26
Status: Referred to Committee
Applies to: Employers
Other: Multiple other provisions

Federal
Bill: Password Protection Act of 2012
Date: May 9
Status: Introduced
Applies to: Employers
Other: Prohibits requests for "access"

Illinois
Bill: HB 3782
Date: Mar. 29
Status: Passed House; pending in Senate
Applies to: Employers
Other: "or other account information for the purpose of gaining access"

Maryland
Bill: SB 433
Date: Apr. 9
Status: Approved by Gov.; Enacted
Applies to: Employers
Other: Prohibits: (a) any request for access to an account; (b) request for user name.

Massachusetts
Bill: HD 4323
Date: Mar. 23
Status: Filed
Applies to: Employers
Other: Prohibits any request for access to an account

Michigan
Bill: HB 5523
Date: Mar. 29
Status: Introduced; referred to Committee
Applies to: Employers; Educational Institutions
Other: Prohibition against requesting user to "disclose access information

Minnesota
Bill: HF 2963; HF 2982; SF 2565
Date: Mar. 26; Mar. 29; Mar. 27
Status: Referred to Committee
Applies to: Employers
Other: None

New Jersey
Bill: Bill A-2878
Date: May 10
Status: Approved by Committee
Applies to: Employers and Educational Institutions
Other: Prohibits asking if user has an account; law-enforcement exemption

New York
Bill: Sen. 6983
Date: Apr. 13
Status: Referred to Committee
Applies to: Employers
Other: (a) Prohibits asking for (i) log-in name, or (ii) "other means for accessing; (b) Exempts accounts owned by employer

South Carolina
Bill: HB 5105
Date: Mar. 29
Status: Referred to Committee
Applies to: Employers
Other: Prohibition against asking for "other related information" to access an account

Washington
Bill: SB 6637
Date: Apr. 11
Status: Reintroduced
Applies to: Employers
Other: Prohibition against asking for "other related information" to access an account

Delaware employers should be most interested (and concerned) with the legislation introduced by Rep. Darryl Scott (Dover). As I've written previously, I believe the proposed law goes far beyond what is necessary and would have significant negative implications for Delaware employers.

Read more Labor and Employment Law insights from Margaret (Molly) DiBianca in the Delaware Employment Law Blog.  

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Comments

Anonymous
Anonymous
  • 05-11-2012

As social media continues to impact the workplace employers are attempting to extend their reach into the private lives of their employees. Sometimes in breach of the employees fundamentally enshrined rights to free speech or privacy. But there are circumstances that require an employer to take definitive action to protect the reputation of their companies or a safe workplace. There is need to define the boundaries in order that both employee and employer know what to expect and how to conduct themselves.