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Student social media privacy bill passes Delaware Legislature

July 02, 2012|By Michelle Maltais
  • California is on track to become one of the first states to ban employers from asking workers and job applicants for their passwords to Facebook and other social media sites.
California is on track to become one of the first states to ban employers… (Dan Kitwood / Getty Images…)

Delaware may be a small state, but it's apparently big on privacy for students. 

Late Saturday night, at the end of the legislative session, the state Senate voted unanimously to ban public and private schools from requiring students to give even a peek behind their personal social media curtain. The bill, HB 309, earlier passed the House without dissent.

"The bill is a win for the personal privacy rights of students," Maryland-based social media attorney Bradley Shear said in an email to The Times.

If signed by the governor, "the bill may protect secondary schools from social media monitoring lawsuits while also protecting the personal digital privacy rights of students," Shear said. "Since schools generally do not have a duty to monitor their students' off campus activities in the real world, they shouldn't have a duty to monitor their students' off campus digital activities."

Shear said he believes that other states will follow Delaware's lead. California's bill on student privacy in social media recently cleared another hurdle along its path, moving to the Assembly Committee on Higher Education. 

Similarly, several states are considering bills to protect employee and job-applicant rights to privacy in social media. In April, Maryland became the first state to pass social media privacy legislation, which the governor made law in May. Illinois followed suit, but that bill still awaits the governor's signature.

HB 308, the Delaware bill focusing on employer access to social media accounts, is still being debated among lawmakers.

California's workplace bill, AB 1844, unanimously passed the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee and looks to be making its way to the Senate floor for consideration. 

On the national front, a congressional committee is considering the proposed Social Networking Online Protection Act, or SNOPA, which would forbid employers from requiring job seekers or workers to hand over their social networking passwords as a condition of employment.

RELATED:

California bill on social media privacy moves forward

Maryland bans employers from seeking social media passwords

SNOPA bill seeks to keep employers out of your private social network

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