ACLU Advocates for Student Social Media Privacy Bills

March 4, 2013

ADVISORY/STATEMENT FOR

March 5, 2013

 

CONTACT: Meredith Curtis, Communications Director, 410-889-8555; media@aclu-md.org 

Sara Love, Public Policy Director, 703-963-2710; love@aclu-md.org 

 

ANNAPOLIS - On March 5, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland will testify to the House Appropriations Committee in support of House Bill 1332, and on March 6 to the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee in support of Senate Bill 838, both which would prohibit academic institutions from requiring a student or applicant for admission to provide the institution with access to the student or applicant's personal internet or electronic accounts. 

 

Many schools across the country have started requiring student athletes to provide them with access to the private content on their social media accounts. Sometimes schools will require a student to "friend" them on Facebook or to allow access to their private Twitter account. For the ACLU of Maryland, these raise legal concerns as potential violations of freedom of speech under the First Amendment and reasonable expectation of privacy under the 4th Amendment. 

 

After last year's passage of legislation prohibiting employers from requesting employees' social media passwords, HB 1332 and SB 838 are the next step in protecting privacy online for students.  To date, four other states have enacted a student social media privacy law, and nine others have introduced similar bills this year.

 

Statement of Sara Love, Public Policy Director, ACLU of Maryland: "Students today live in an online world, but just because they communicate online does not mean their conversations deserve any less privacy. Any communications on social media that a student takes care to make private should be kept private."

 

WHAT: Hearing on HB 1332 - Educational Institutions - Personal Electronic Account - Privacy Protection and Hearing & SB 838 - Educational Institutions - Personal Electronic Account - Privacy Protection

WHO:  Sara Love, Public Policy Director, ACLU of Maryland. Sara Love will be available for media interviews.

 

WHEN: HB 1332 on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 and SB 838 on Wednesday March 6, 2013; hearings begin at 1 PM. 

 

WHERE: Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee, Miller Senate Office Building, 11 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD and House Appropriations Committee, House Office Building, 6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD.

 

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