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Two (Out of Three) More States Enact Social Media Privacy Laws

Recently, two more states – Arkansas and Colorado – enacted some form of social media privacy law for the workplace, and both new laws have very similar restrictions.  First, the Arkansas social media law prohibits an employer from requiring, requesting, suggesting, or causing a current or prospective employee do any of the following:

  1. Disclose his or her username and password for a social media account;
  2. Add an employee, supervisor, or administrator to the list of contacts associated with his or her social media account (i.e. “friending”); or
  3. Change the privacy settings associated with his or her social media account.

Second, the Colorado social media law provides that an employer may not suggest, request, require, or cause an employee or applicant to do any of the following:

  1. Disclose any username, password, or other means for accessing the employee’s or applicant’s personal account or service through the employee’s or applicant’s personal electronic communications device;
  2. Add anyone, including the employer to the employee’s or applicant’s list of contacts associated with the social media account; or
  3. Change privacy settings associated with a social networking account.

You can view the Arkansas law here and the Colorado law here.

Conversely, in New Jersey, the legislature passed a social media law of its own, but the New Jersey Governor  conditionally vetoed the measure and sent it back to the legislature with recommended revisions.  You can review his veto message here.

Altogether, with two (out of these 3 states) passing social media workplace laws, we now have seven total states with such laws.

As I’ve stated before, these laws appear to address a problem that doesn’t even exist.  In other words, “if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it”…

Fortunately, during the 2013 legislative session, the Hawaii state legislature was wise enough to realize that this type of law is unnecessary, and the bills dealing with social media privacy in the workplace died.  (In all likelihood, however, we will see similar measures introduced and heard at the Hawaii legislature in the upcoming sessions.)