California Senate passes social media privacy legislation

Bill awaits governor’s signature, would bar schools’ access to students’ social media accounts

California college students’ social media profiles could soon be protected from scrutiny.

On Tuesday, the California Senate unanimously passed a bill that would prohibit colleges and universities from requesting access to students’ social media accounts. The bill now moves to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown for passage by the end of the month. California employees and job applicants could also soon gain protection—a bill that would protect their social media accounts is currently awaiting a Senate vote.

California’s legislation comes just a few weeks after Illinois passed a law that bars employers from requiring job applicants or employees to disclose their social media account passwords. The Illinois law takes effect Jan. 1, 2013. Similar online privacy laws already exist in Maryland and Delaware, and a handful of other states are currently working on similar bills.

Other states aren’t so keen on protecting online privacy. The Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports that student-athletes at the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville are required to surrender their social media privacy if a monitoring system catches any red flags in their social media postings. Words flagged by the system include “Muslim,” “Arab” and any words related to drugs, alcohol or sex.

For more InsideCounsel coverage of social media, read:

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