NEW LAWS: Social Media

On January 1, California will enact two new laws related to privacy protections for users of social media. (File Photo)

By Michael P.  Neufeld

Sacramento, CA – Governor Jerry Brown tweeted about two new social media laws that go into effect January 1.

In fact, the governor utilized Twitter, MySpace, Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook to announce he had signed the two bills that increase privacy protections for residents who use social media. The two bills prohibit universities and employers from requiring applicants to give up their E-mail or social media credentials and related private content.

Last year, the vetting of social media content gained national attention when a corrections officer in the state of Maryland revealed he had been required to provide his Facebook user name and password before he could get recertified.  Even Facebook got involved because they said it was in violation of its terms of service and guidelines.

A.B. 1844 – SOCIAL MEDIA (Nora Campos – D-San Jose) – Prohibits California employers from demanding user names, passwords or any other information related to social media accounts from employees and applicants for positions with a company. Employers are also banned from discharging or disciplining employees who decline to divulge such information under the terms of the legislation. However, this restriction does not apply to passwords or other information used to access employer-issued electronic device4s, In addition, the bill stipulates that nothing in its language is intended to infringe on employers’ existing rights and obligations to investigate misconduct in the workplace.

S..B. 1349 – SOCIAL MEDIA (Leland Yee – D-San Francisco) – Establishes a similar privacy policy for post-secondary education students with respect to their utilization of social media. While the bill prohibits public and private institutions of high education from requiring students, prospective students and student groups to disclose user names, passwords and other information about their use of social media, it stipulates that this prohibition does not affect the institution’s right too investigate or punish student misconduct.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Yee’s student law  only applies to post-secondary students (universities, colleges, etc.), meaning high school students in the Golden State — who are increasingly utilizing social media to capture intimate details of their lives — will not be afforded the same social media protection.


Click on the following links for additional stories related to new California laws effective January 1, 2013.

NEW LAWS: Insurance

NEW LAWS: Motor Vehicles

NEW LAWS: Seniors

NEW LAWS: Veterans

NEW LAWS: Gun Control

NEW LAWS: 2013




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