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Thursday, September 5, 2013

New Jersey Enacts Social Media Password Protection Legislation

As expected, on August 29, 2013, New Jersey became the twelfth state to enact social media password protection legislation, continuing the nationwide trend towards imposing some form of restriction on employer access to employee's social media profiles and content.  The new law becomes effective on December 1, 2014.  

The new law prohibits employers from asking or requiring that job applicants or current employees "provide or disclose any user name or password, or in any way provide the employer access to, a personal account through an electronic communications device" (emphasis supplied).  The italicized language appears to encompass several different means of accessing restricted social media content, such as: (a) “shoulder surfing” an applicant’s or employee’s restricted, personal social media account; (b) compelling an applicant or employee to accept an employer’s “friend” request to permit access to a restricted account; and (c) requiring an applicant or employee to change the privacy settings on a restricted account to enable the employer to access it.  By prohibiting far more than just a request for an applicant’s or employee’s social media log-in credentials, New Jersey’s prohibition is among the broadest in the nation.

If you would like more information about this topic or have general legal questions, please feel free to contact me at (973)949-3770 or via email at plamont@peterlamontesq.com We answer legal questions on a daily basis and would be happy to discuss any issues or questions that you have with you.

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