Social media password protection bills start to sweep the country

Last month we talked a lot about laws a handful of states have passed that address an apparent practice of employers demanding social media user names and passwords from employees and job applicants.

Password gameIt must be a problem state legislators are hearing about, because the cause is picking up steam.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, social media password legislation "has been introduced or is pending in at least 25 states in 2013."

Twenty-five states!

Federal legislators want to address the issue, too.

The bill at the federal level is called "the Social Networking Online Protection Act." According to Thomas, it is numbered H.R. 537 and was introduced in the 113th Congress on February 6. As of this morning, Thomas reports that the text of the bill "has not yet been received" from the Government Printing Office. Though the bill may simply be a re-introduction of a bill that died in the prior Congress, let's wait to see the text of H.R. 537.

Also on this topic: yesterday on his and Eric Goldman's blog, Venkat Balasubramani posted on the Washington State social media password protection bill. I like how Venkat keeps a spotlight on the implications of these bills for the social media account ownership issues (is that Twitter account yours or your employer's?) that are playing out in a slew of court cases which he and Eric cover pretty much as they happen.

Thanks to Danan Margason for a heads up about state agendas for 2013 and to Joe Wallin for a heads up about the federal bill.

Photo: Nico Paix / Flickr.

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