Senate Bill 1349, by Democratic Sen. Leland Yee, bans employers and educational institutions from asking prospective or current employees and students to hand over their user names and passwords or provide access to the account.
The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee 7-0. It now heads for consideration in the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee.
Yee announced plans to pursue the legislation after an Associated Press report cited examples of such practices happening in other states, though the San Francisco Democrat said the issue had come up before in conversations with Silicon Valley interests. While California's public universities and colleges say they do not currently request such information, a legislative committee analysis says some private institutions have sought access to student athletes' accounts.
"While social media have provided a useful avenue for socialization and expression, the author contends that it has also put employees, job applicants, and students at risk of having their privacy blatantly violated by employers and schools," the committee analysis reads.
Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose, introduced a similar proposal earlier this year. That bill, A.B. 1844, is scheduled to be heard by the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee next week.
PHOTO CREDIT: Matt, 17, and Bob Florian showcasing a Facebook page. Washington Post photo by Susan Biddle.