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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Illinois is 3rd State to Legislate Social Media Privacy Law

This just in.  Illinois joins Maryland and Delaware to pass a law protecting the social media privacy of individuals from prospective employers.

Michigan also has a similar bill under consideration known as the Social Network Account Privacy Act.  The general concept of these laws is to proscribe employers or educational institutions from requiring prospects to provide account access data such as passwords or log-in information.

Many of these prospective employers are law enforcement agencies, perhaps looking to see whether their recruits have any gang connections.  Other employers seek inappropriate photos are company disparaging remarks.

This practice is widely regarded as a breach of privacy.  Further, it is a breach of the operating agreement for most sites to share a password.  While the Justice Department considers the practice of entering a social media site in violation of the site's agreement to be a federal crime; albeit, the JOD has admitted in recent congressional testimony that such crimes will, for now, go un-prosecuted.

These laws are considered by legal experts to be both pro-business and pro-privacy.  The benefits to our ever-eroding privacy are obvious.  As for business, such legislation relieves a company or educational institution from the duty of monitoring protected digital content.

We will monitor the bill currently pending in the House Committee on Energy and Technology.

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