hldataprotection.com informs that Last week, Michigan enacted a social media privacy law that prohibits employers and educational institutions from requesting access to the personal social media or other internet-based accounts of employees or students.
♦ The new law, known as the Internet Privacy Protection Act, provides that employers or educational institutions (ranging from elementary schools through institutions of higher learning) may not request or require an employee, job applicant, or current or prospective student to grant access to or disclose login information for the individual’s “personal internet account,” which is defined broadly as an “account created via a bounded system established by an internet-based service that requires a user to input or store access information via an electronic device to view, create, utilize, or edit the user’s account information, profile, display, communications, or stored data.”
♠ Nevertheless, the law has consistent exceptions:
1. The employer pays for an “electronic communications device,” in whole or in part;
2. The account or service is provided by the employer, obtained by virtue of the employee’s employment relationship with the employer, or used for the employer’s business purposes;
3. An employee transfers the employer’s “proprietary or confidential information or financial data” to the employee’s personal internet account without authorization;
4. The employer is conducting a workplace investigation, provided that the employer has “specific information” about activity on the employee’s personal internet account or the unauthorized transfer of the employer’s data to the employee’s account; or
5. The employer is “monitoring, reviewing, or accessing electronic data” traveling through its network.
Exception No. 5 makes us wonder whether it does not cover all the situations in which an employee accesses his/her personal e-mail account or Facebook page from a device connected to the employer’s wi-fi network.
The Act establishes (section 8) that the maximum fine for breaching the internet privacy provisions is 1.000 $.
♥ With the enactment of this statute, Michigan joins California, Maryland, Illinois, and New Jersey in restricting employers from accessing employees’ and applicants’ social media accounts. Delaware and New Jersey have also passed laws protecting the privacy of students’ social media accounts. The coming year should see additional legislative activity in this area, as social media privacy bills are under consideration in Missouri, Texas, and other jurisdictions.
Read the whole story HERE.