Michigan Becomes Latest State To Protect Citizens From Employers And Schools Snooping On Private Social Feeds

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Employers and schools in Michigan, the greatest state in the Nation, are now prohibited from asking employees and students for passwords to their personal email and social media accounts. In a win for reasonable privacy and common sense, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder just signed House Bill 5523 into law introduced by state Rep. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton.

“Cyber security is important to the reinvention of Michigan, and protecting the private internet accounts of residents is a part of that,” Snyder said in a released statement on 12/28/2012. “Potential employees and students should be judged on their skills and abilities, not private online activity.”

The bill also protects job and school applicants from having to give out their passwords. Offenders to the new law could be charged with a misdemeanor and charged up to a $1,000 fine.

Bills such as these are in response to a troubling trend that surfaced in 2012. Employers and schools were found asking current and prospective employees and students for access to their online accounts. This was often labeled as voluntary but not complying often had negative effects. Earlier this year, the United States House of Representatives failed in an attempt to ratify a Federal ban, paving the way for states to take up the responsibility.

California, Delaware, Illinois, and New Jersey have similar laws on the books. But remember, there’s a difference between private and personal, and anything you put online will never be completely private — right, Randi?

[image via mittenmade]