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Michigan Passes Law to Protect Social Media Accounts

Date: 1/1/2013
Author: Kenneth Rosen

Michigan passed a bill on Friday that prohibits employers and schools from asking employees and students for login information to their personal social media accounts.

House Bill 5523, signed by Governor Rick Snyder and introduced by state Rep. Aric Nesbitt, "prohibit[s] 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."

This means an employer or institution cannot require that you provide them with your username or passwords for sites like Facebook and Twitter. The bill is known as the "internet privacy protection act."

“Potential employees and students should be judged on their skills and abilities, not private online activity,” Snyder said in a press release.

Michigan isn't alone in adapting laws to the changing Internet social sphere.

Earlier this year, Delaware banned public and private schools from requiring students' social media account information. The bill passed through the House in a unanimous vote. Months earlier, Maryland introduced a similar bill that would particularly benefit student athletes.

In September, California passed a law that barred companies from asking its workers to surrender their social media account passwords.