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San Francisco, CA - Yesterday, the California Senate passed legislation that bans colleges and universities from requesting access to students’ social media accounts. The bill now moves to Governor Jerry Brown, who has until the end of September to either sign or veto the bill. The California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) voiced its support for S.B.1349, and is pleased to see the privacy protections Californians currently enjoy extended to include social media and online sites as well.
“California is once again ahead of the curve when it comes to protecting online privacy” commented Jon Fox, CALPIRG’s Consumer Advocate, adding “Lawmakers have drawn the line, protecting student’s online privacy.”
Many online sites provide Californians with a platform to share private information with close friends and relatives. Sensitive personal information such as marital status, age, and religion can easily be gleaned from social media web sites. S.B. 1349 prohibits postsecondary educational institutions, whether public or private, from requiring or requesting a student, or a prospective student, to disclose the user name or account password for a personal social media account, or to otherwise provide the institution with access to any content of that account.
“Existing laws prohibit schools and employers from asking about certain personal information such as age, gender, or marital status,” noted Jon Fox. “S.B. 1349 blocks schools from forcing access to that information via social networks.”
CALPIRG is concerned that reports of the growing number of businesses, public agencies and colleges asking job seekers, workers and students for their Facebook and Twitter account information is indicative of future trends that violate an individual’s right to privacy.
“While this is a step in the right direction, CALPIRG calls on legislators to pass A.B. 1844 which would extend online privacy protections to both existing and prospective employees as well,” said Jon Fox.
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The California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) is a result-oriented public interest group that protects consumers, encourages a fair sustainable economy, and fosters responsive democratic governance.
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