Saturday, September 15, 2012

U.S. Court: Student-Athlete Social Media Monitoring Violates the 1st and 4th Amendment

A U.S. District Court in Minnesota has stated that public schools that require access to their students' password protected digital content are violating their students' 1st and 4th Amendment rights. In R.S. ex rel. S.S. v. Minnewaska Area Dist. No 2149 2012 WL 3870868, a student was allegedly intimidated into turning over her Facebook username and password, and her personal email username and password so the school could view her password protected digital content for references to a hall monitor whom the student felt was treating her unfairly.

On June 22, 2011, I stated that if the NCAA requires its students to turn over their social media credentials, "The NCAA is going down a very slippery slope that has major First Amendment and privacy implications. I believe the NCAA should rethink its social media compliance allegations against UNC."

and

on September 27, 2011, I stated "I believe UNC's new social media policy may violate the 1st, 4th, and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution" because UNC's policy requires their student-athletes to provide the school access to their password protected digital content.

Public schools that require any of their students to register their social media usernames, or to provide access to their password protected digital content via required Facebook Friending or the installation of a third-party software application for any reason are in clear violation of the 1st and 4th Amendment. Therefore, any school that utilizes a social media monitoring company to track their student-athletes online may want to change their policy immediately before their legal liability exponentially increases.

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

Copyright 2011 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC. All rights reserved.