A new year is here, which means a new set of state Internet laws. A number of bills dealing with social media privacy are set to hit the books — which isn’t surprising since online privacy was a hot topic, both abroad and at home, in 2012. Don’t expect the trend to slow this year, either; online privacy is likely to remain a big Internet law debate in 2013.
New Social Media Privacy Law In Michigan
On December 28, 2012, Michigan enacted the Internet Privacy Protection Act – House Bill 5523. It means that from now on in the Great Lakes State, employers and state schools are not permitted to penalize applicants for refusing to hand over access to their social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Specifically, the law prohibits:
“Employers and educational institutions from requiring certain individuals to grant access to, allow observation of, or disclose information that allows access to or observation of personal Internet accounts.”
When asked to comment on the new social media law, Gov. Snyder praised the bill and affirmed his belief that “potential employees and students should be judged on skills and abilities, not private online activity.”
New 2013 Internet Laws In California
Michigan isn’t the only state that rung in the New Year with a new law concerning social media privacy; California also passed an online privacy bill, which is very similar to Michigan’s HB 5523. As of Tuesday in The Golden State, employees and public school students don’t have to hand over access to their social media accounts.
Michigan and California aren’t the only states cracking down on Internet privacy issues. North Carolina already passed an online privacy law in 2012 – but instead of protecting employees and students, its goal is to guard the online privacy of teachers. Delaware and Illinois are also expected to pass similar laws as Michigan and California this year.
And Don’t Forget About Mobile Privacy Policies