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Senate panel OKs social media protections for students, workers

April 19, 2012 | 12:32 pm

SocialMedia

A state Senate committee Thursday approved a bill that would bar public and private colleges from asking students for access to their personal social media accounts.

The legislation, SB 1349, also extends to public and private employers, prohibiting them from requesting user names or passwords from both employees and job applicants. The Senate Education Committee approved the measure 7-0.

“Today was a great first step in ending this unacceptable invasion of personal privacy,” said state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), the bill's author. “The practice of employers or colleges demanding social media passwords is entirely unnecessary and completely unrelated to someone’s performance or abilities.”

The legislation comes after Associated Press reports that some private and public agencies around the country are asking job seekers for their social media credentials. Federal lawmakers have asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the practice while Maryland and Illinois are considering bills similar to the California measure.

According to a Senate committee analysis, the state's public universities do not currently ask students for access to their social media accounts, though some private colleges request the information from student athletes to ensure they comply with National Collegiate Athletic Assn. rules.

The bill now heads to the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee.

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-- Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento

Twitter.com/mjmishak

Photo: The logos of the Facebook and Instagram apps are pictured on an iPhone in Cologne, Germany. Credit: EPA/Rolf Vennenbernd

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