Question: How is social media like pornography?By http://profile.typepad.com/1237764140s22740 // April 30, 2013 in Password Protection Laws
Answer: You know it when you see it.
The Washington State legislature has now passed a social media account password protection bill. It goes to the Governor of Washington State, Jay Inslee, now; if Gov. Inslee signs it, it will be a law.
Here's a link to the bill as passed by both houses.
It's getting more complicated than those that have gone before, or at least those of other states which we have looked at here. More complicated in the sense that it doesn't just spell out that it's not okay for employers to demand user names and passwords from employees, but it goes further and expressly specifies that it's not okay to look over an employee's shoulder and watch while she or he logs on to a "personal social networking account." The Washington bill also makes it expressly not okay (well, against the law, assuming the bill is signed and becomes law) for an employer to demand that the employee friend or follow the employer! Take that, LinkedIn!
But here's the biggest surprise: though the Washington bill is eager to list out all varieties of coercion, it doesn't actually craft a defined term for "social media" or "social networking." Courts, presumably, will have to figure out what a "personal social media account" is.
Score one for our graders, who some months back said this was the right way to go (though I also like how Arkansas just went ahead and listed some incumbent players, e.g. Facebook and Twitter, as examples).
Photo: viZZZual.com / Flickr.