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A bill that would prohibit public and private postsecondary schools or employers from asking students, employees or job applicants to provide a user name and password for personal social media accounts passed in the California state Senate today.

"The reality is that in a social media account there is a lot of private information," said Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, the author of the bill. Yee added that there is information such as religion on social media accounts that "is protected by state and federal law."

Senate Bill 1349 was opposed by Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Rocklin, who said he was concerned that the bill would hinder employers from intervening to prevent the escalation of workplace harassment. "I want to make sure we are protecting people's privacy," Gaines said. "I have a concern with being able to address early harassment issues."

The bill passed 28-5 and now heads to the Assembly.

"This is a pretty simple issue," Yee said. "Given the reality of social media ... when we first started using these social media platforms, no one imagined that the information in them would be open to the general public."


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