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article imageCalifornia bans employers and colleges from social media snooping

By Leigh Goessl     Sep 29, 2012 in Internet
This week California became the most recent state to ban the social media snooping conducted by many employers and universities.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed two privacy bills preventing employers and colleges from asking for social media and email login information into law on Thursday. He made announcements on, where else? Social media.
The California governor sent out a tweet that said, "Today I signed two bills to prohibit universities and employers from demanding your social media passwords."
Brown also announced the signing of the new law on his Facebook page as well.
"Today I am signing Assembly Bill 1844 and Senate Bill 1349, which prohibit universities and employers from demanding your email and social media passwords. California pioneered the social media revolution. These laws protect Californians from unwarranted invasions of their social media accounts. For more information on AB 1844 and Senate Bill 1349:"
With this latest development, California joins both Maryland and Illinois in putting laws together to preserve employee, applicant and student privacy.
It is important to note, this ban does not include information used on employer-used devices. It also does not make it illegal for universities to investigate student misconduct on social media websites, reported PC World.
Social media sites are public spaces, however most do offer members the ability to restrict access to information preferred to be kept private. A privacy debate was ignited earlier this year after it was widely publicized that many businesses and colleges routinely demand access to applicant, employee or student social media accounts to see information that wasn't publicly displayed.
This led to questions of whether or not employers could circumvent employment laws through forced access of Facebook accounts. Even Facebook chimed in and warned employers about asking users for passwords.
According to a Kapersky blog post, the new California laws are to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013.
Reportedly similar laws are undergoing consideration in Michigan and Minnesota.
More about Social media, Employers, Colleges, California, Privacy laws
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