Facebook-Privacy Laws: Update

Legislation, both state and federal, prohibiting employers from requesting an employee’s or applicant’s password continues to make progress. In Particular, the pending bills in California and New Jersey passed to the next level of their respective legislatures yesterday. The first two federal bills of this type of failed but, fear not, a new version has been introduced. Gone is SNOPA; the Password Protection Act of 2012 was introduced earlier this week. In an effort to keep up, I’ve put together the list below, which includes a reference to each of the states with pending legislation of which I’m aware:

California
Bill: Social Media Privacy Act Date: May 10 Status: Unanimiously passed the State Assembly Applies to: Employers; Post-secondar educational institutions Other: Prohibition against “otherwise asking for access” to an account

Delaware
Bill: HB 308 Date: Apr. 26 Status: Referred to Committee Applies to: Employers Other: Multiple other provisions

Federal
Bill: Password Protection Act of 2012 Date: May 9 Status: Introduced Applies to: Employers Other: Prohibits requests for “access”

Illinois
Bill: HB 3782 Date: Mar. 29 Status: Passed House; pending in Senate Applies to: Employers Other: “or other account information for the purpose of gaining access”

Maryland
Bill: SB 433 Date: Apr. 9 Status: Approved by Gov.; Enacted Applies to: Employers Other: Prohibits: (a) any request for access to an account; (b) request for user name.

Massachusetts
Bill: HD 4323 Date: Mar. 23 Status: Filed Applies to: Employers Other: Prohibits any request for access to an account

Michigan
Bill: HB 5523 Date: Mar. 29 Status: Introduced; referred to Committee Applies to: Employers; Educational Institutions Other: Prohibition against requesting user to “disclose access information

Minnesota
Bill: HF 2963; HF 2982; SF 2565
Date: Mar. 26; Mar. 29; Mar. 27 Status: Referred to Committee Applies to: Employers Other: None

New Jersey
Bill: Bill A-2878 Date: May 10 Status: Approved by Committee Applies to: Employers and Educational Institutions Other: Prohibits asking if user has an account; law-enforcement exemption

New York
Bill: Sen. 6983 Date: Apr. 13 Status: Referred to Committee
Applies to: Employers Other: (a) Prohibits asking for (i) log-in name, or (ii) “other means for accessing; (b) Exempts accounts owned by employer

South Carolina
Bill: HB 5105 Date: Mar. 29 Status: Referred to Committee Applies to: Employers Other: Prohibition against asking for “other related information” to access an account

Washington
Bill: SB 6637 Date: Apr. 11 Status: Reintroduced Applies to: Employers Other: Prohibition against asking for “other related information” to access an account

Delaware employers should be most interested (and concerned) with the legislation introduced by Rep. Darryl Scott (Dover). As I’ve written previously, I believe the proposed law goes far beyond what is necessary and would have significant negative implications for Delaware employers.

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