Law Would Ban College From Getting Social Media Passwords

Social media privacy is on the line in a new bill that has passed both houses of the legislature in Sacramento.

By Lori Preuitt
|  Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012  |  Updated 2:48 PM PDT
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If Gov. Jerry Brown puts his signature on a piece of paper that landed on his desk Tuesday, colleges will have less access to student information and students will have more access to their social media privacy.

SB 1349 would make it illegal for colleges and universities to demand user names and passwords from students and employees for their social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.

It follows a new trend that has businesses, public agencies, and colleges asking job seekers, workers, and students for their account information.

The bill's author, Sen. Leland Yee (D- San Francisco), says colleges who seek passwords for sites such as Facebook and Twitter can also gain access to protected information such as age, race, religion and sexual orientation.

“California is set to end this unacceptable invasion of personal privacy,” said Yee. “The practice of employers or colleges demanding social media passwords is entirely unnecessary and completely unrelated to someone’s performance or abilities.”

A companion bill, AB1844, is still awaiting a final vote before also arriving on the governor's desk. It would ban employers from requiring current or prospective employees to disclose the same information.

The governor has until Sept. 30 to act.

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