Legislators seek social media privacy

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island may soon be joining the growing list of states moving to protect workers and students from intrusion by employers and schools into their personal social networking accounts. More

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Legislators seek social media privacy

Posted 2/3/14

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island may soon be joining the growing list of states moving to protect workers and students from intrusion by employers and schools into their personal social networking accounts.

Sen. Dominick J. Ruggerio, D-Providence, and Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy, D-Hopkinton, have introduced the Social Media Privacy Act, legislation that would establish two new chapters of state law, one covering student social media privacy and the other covering employee social media privacy.

The legislation includes several provisions, such as:

• Barring educational institution from requesting a student or prospective student disclose the password or any other means of accessing a personal social media account, or to access an account in the presence of the institution’s employee or representative or to divulge any personal account information.

• Preventing educational institution from compelling a student or prospective student, as a condition of acceptance, to add anyone to their list of contacts associated with a personal social media account.

Similar protections would be enacted for employees.

Among the states that have acted on or where social media bills are under legislative consideration are California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and, in New England, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. •

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