CA Senate: Students Don't Have to Share Facebook, Twitter Passwords

SB 1349 prevents California universities and colleges from asking for students' social media information

By Olsen Ebright
|  Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012  |  Updated 1:55 PM PDT
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CA Senate OKs Social Media Privacy Bill

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Students would not have to share their social media accounts with universities, according to a state Senate bill recently sent to the governor's office.

California is one step closer to banning universities from asking students for their social media user names and passwords.

On Tuesday, the California State Senate voted 38-0 to approve SB 1349, a social media privacy bill authored by state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo).

The bill comes in response to reports of institutions asking students and employees for their Facebook and Twitter information. A similar bill, AB 1844, which would ban the practice for employers, is awaiting a vote in the state Senate.

"California is set to end this unacceptable invasion of personal privacy," Yee said in a statement. "The practice of employers or colleges demanding social media passwords is entirely unnecessary and completely unrelated to someone's performance or abilities."

Student athletes are often the targeting of monitoring on social media, said Yee's chief of staff Adam Keigwin.

"He never imagined -- none of us did -- that employers and universities were doing this," Keigwin said. "Lo and behold, in fact, quite a few were doing it, and we called the (University of California) and the (California State University) into our office to discuss it, they readily admitted that they did this, especially with a lot of their student athletes."

Gov. Jerry Brown has until Sept. 30 to sign or veto the bill. 

Other states -- including Maryland, Delaware and Illinois -- have passed similar legislation.

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