Senator Lesser Votes to Pass Social Media Privacy Protections
BOSTON — On Thursday the State Senate voted unanimously to pass a bill protecting the personal social media accounts of students and employees. The bill, S. 2320, An Act relative to social media privacy protection, prevents employers and schools from requesting and requiring access to the personal social media accounts of applicants, employees, and students as a condition of acceptance, employment or participation in school activities.
“Technology has changed how we communicate, but those communications should still have the protections of privacy. Through privacy settings, social media users can decide who to share their thoughts, photos and conversations with, which is essentially no different than a private phone call. No school or employer should be allowed to cross that barrier between people’s public and private lives as a threshold for inclusion in school events or as a basis for employment,” said Senator Eric P. Lesser, who is a member of the Special Senate Committee on Cyber Security Readiness.
Sen. Lesser co-sponsored the bill, which includes exceptions for legal inquiries requiring access to social media accounts. Under current law, these inquiries would still be required to follow due process.
“I am proud to have bipartisan support among my Senate colleagues to increase online privacy protections for students and employees across the Commonwealth,” said Senate Majority Leader Creem (D-Newton), who sponsored the bill. “We would never allow employers or schools to read our diaries or journals, open our mail or rifle through our personal photo albums. The private communications and information we store online in our personal social media accounts deserve the same legal protections.”
More than 25 states have already enacted legislation addressing this issue, and bills on this topic are pending in many other jurisdictions. This is the third session in which the Senate has voted favorably on this bill.
The bill now goes to the State House of Representatives for consideration.