Friday, August 24, 2012

South Korea bans social media account registration

South Korea's highest court unanimously ruled that South Koreans are not required to register their user names or other online account information in order to make comments on the Internet. This reaffirms that South Korea will protect freedom of speech on social media and other online platforms.

When applying this law to universities in South Korea, it appears to mean that public school students are not required provide their schools their social media user names or other digital account information. In a democratic society, public schools may not require their students to register their Facebook accounts, Twitter handles, and/or other social media credentials in order to obtain or keep their scholarships. It is clearly unconstitutional for a U.S. public university to demand that their students register their digital or social media usernames or online persona with a university or a third party in order to keep their scholarship or participate in extracurricular activities. This protection extends to all students including student-athletes and other students on scholarship.

Unfortunately, there are multiple U.S. public colleges and universities that are following the advice of self-described social media consultants who are pitching schools on requiring their student-athletes to register their social media usernames with their schools and/or Facebook Friend a coach and/or download social media monitoring software so the school may identify the student's online persona and track their online behavior.

Any social media consultant that advocates schools utilize a social media monitoring service to track their student-athletes' online behavior is a snake oil salesman that should not be trusted because this advice may create tremendous legal liability for those universities and individuals who follow this advice.

To learn more about these issues you may contact me at www.shearlaw.com.

Copyright 2012 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC All rights reserved.

Gay Federal Employee Allegedly Fired For Facebook Like Sues

A former federal employee has filed a lawsuit alleging that he was fired because of a Facebook Like. This is reminiscent of another recent lawsuit where an employee alleges he was fired for Facebook Liking the page of his supervisor's political opponent.

If employers have access to their employee's social media accounts and they learn about an employee's protected status and they fire an employee based upon this information this may open the employer up to tremendous legal liability.

In schools, requiring student-athletes to provide access to their social media accounts may also open up schools to discrimination claims. What would happen if a coach finds out one of his student-athletes is gay because of a Facebook Like or the content posted by one of the student-athlete's Facebook Friends and then the coach discriminates against the student-athlete?

The above mentioned examples demonstrate why employers and schools should not want to be able to freely access their employees' or students' social media content. If employers and schools are unable to access this information this may lower the number of discrimination allegations and/or lawsuits. Unfortunately, there are still employers and schools that don't understand these issues and because of this lack of understanding state and federal digital media privacy laws are needed to protect employers, employees, job applicants, schools, students, and student applicants.

To learn more about these issues you may contact me at www.shearlaw.com.

Copyright 2012 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC All rights reserved.