Thursday, September 27, 2012

California is the first state to enact comprehensive social media privacy legislation

Governor Jerry Brown of California has announced that he has signed California SB 1349 and California AB 1844.  California has now become the first state in the country to enact comprehensive social media privacy legislation.

Earlier this year, Maryland became the first state to enact social media privacy legislation that protects employees' digital privacy while also protecting employers from frivolous social media related lawsuits.  Soon after, Delaware enacted social media privacy legislation that protects college students and post-secondary schools. In August, Illinois enacted legislation that protects employees and employers.

With the enactment of California's SB 1349, California becomes the second state to protect the social media privacy of post-secondary students which may also protect California schools from frivolous social media related lawsuits and snake oil salesmen who are pitching schools on the need for costly social media monitoring programs that are legal liability time bombs.  On August 21, 2012, I stated,
"If SB 1349 is enacted, it may protect California schools from millions of dollars in additional compliance and regulatory costs, and millions of dollars in potential legal liability costs associated with social media related lawsuits."

With the enactment of California's AB 1844, California becomes the third state to protect the social media privacy rights of employees which may also protect California employers from frivolous social media related lawsuits.  On August 30, 2012, I sated, "
AB 1844 is a huge win for the business community because it may provide California businesses with a legal liability shield from plaintiffs who may allege that businesses have a legal duty to monitor their employees' personal password protected digital content. This legislation may collectively save California businesses tens of millions of dollars a year in costs to monitor their employees' personal digital accounts. In addition, this law may save California businesses tens of millions of dollars per year on cyber liability insurance premiums that would accompany a duty to monitor employees in the digital/social media space.

The bottom line is that California is leading the way in the enactment social media privacy legislation that protects schools, students, prospective students, employers, employees, and job applicants.

(Full Disclosure: I advised California State Senator Yee's office on SB 1349 and Assembly Member Campos' office AB 1844.)

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.