California’s Comprehensive Social Media Privacy Law

As I mentioned in prior posts [here and here and here and here], California was one of the first states to propose legislation that would protect applicants, employees, and students from having to disclose their social media passwords.

We can now add California to Maryland, Delaware, and Illinois that have officially passed a social media privacy protection law. Notably, California is the first state to pass a comprehensive law that protects both employees and students (as you will recall from my prior posts, protection of students’ social media passwords was one of the major goals of the legislation).




A quick reference:

States that have passed privacy legislation protecting employees / employers:

  • Maryland
  • Illinois
  • California

States that have passed privacy legislation protecting students / schools:

  • Delaware
  • California

States that have social media privacy legislation of some sort pending:

  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Washington

I am sure this list will continue to grow. For more information Employer Access to Social Media Usernames and Passwords, check out the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website.

And once again, congratulations to Brad Shear — a good friend of this blog — for his work in this arena. Brad helped draft the model legislation that is being picked up by legislatures around the country. You should read his blog and follow him on Twitter (@bradleyshear).

Here is my standard “Facebook Passwords” disclaimer: if you’re doing this (requiring passwords) now, go ahead and stop. One way or the other, you will not be allowed to keep or continue this practice.

For a detailed review of the California law, check out the write-up by Seyfarth Shaw’s Trading Secrets blog.

About Tyson Snow

Tyson B. Snow is a partner at Pia Anderson Dorius Reynard & Moss, LLC, in Salt Lake City. He is considered an expert on social media law, particularly social media law's impact on the workplace and employment. His practice involves all areas of federal court litigation with an emphasis in employment litigation, commercial litigation, and intellectual property litigation, including trademark disputes, cybersquatting, copyrights, and other technology related issues. He also frequently litigates in Utah’s state district and appellate courts. Email: Twitter: @tysonESQ

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