Skip Navigation Links.
Collapse IRMI OnlineIRMI Online
Expand How To Use IRMI OnlineHow To Use IRMI Online
My Paid Publications
Expand What's NewWhat's New
Expand DashboardsDashboards
Expand Commercial Liability InformationCommercial Liability Information
Expand Commercial Property InformationCommercial Property Information
Expand Commercial Auto InformationCommercial Auto Information
Expand D&O, PL, E&O, EPLI InformationD&O, PL, E&O, EPLI Information
Expand Workers Compensation InformationWorkers Compensation Information
Classifications and Cross-References
Collapse Risk Mgt. and Multiline InformationRisk Mgt. and Multiline Information
Expand Risk Management -- Why and HowRisk Management -- Why and How
Collapse Free Risk Management and Multiline CommentaryFree Risk Management and Multiline Commentary
Expand Brand Equity and Product RecallBrand Equity and Product Recall
Expand Catastrophe Risk ManagementCatastrophe Risk Management
Expand Corporate AviationCorporate Aviation
Expand Corporate Fraud PreventionCorporate Fraud Prevention
Collapse Cyber and Privacy Risk and InsuranceCyber and Privacy Risk and Insurance
Changes in State Breach Notification Laws (August 2014)
Guidance for Managing Cybersecurity Risks (May 2014)
Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (January 2014)
Revisiting Privacy Policies in Light of California Law (October 2013)
Privacy Rights for California Minors (September 2013)
Social Media Account Laws (August 2013)
FTC Updates Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule (May 2013)
FTC Issues Mobile Privacy and Security Guidance (February 2013)
Mobile Application Privacy Policy Enforcement (November 2012)
Digital Copier Privacy Regulation (September 2012)
Yawning in the Face of Privacy Risks (May 2012)
Consumer Privacy Framework and Next Steps (May 2012)
Hacking, Malware, and Social Engineering Threats (January 2012)
SEC Issues Guidance on Cybersecurity and Cyber Incident Disclosure (December 2011)
The Militarization of Cyber Space and the Risks for U.S. Businesses (November 2011)
SEC Requires Disclosure of Cyber Attacks (October 2011)
Massachusetts Enacts Privacy Regulations (September 2011)
Avoiding Privacy Risks: Smile! You're on the Web Camera! (March 2010)
The Developing Legal Standards for Data Security (August 2008)
Privacy and Security Litigation and Enforcement: Growing Risks for Businesses? (May 2007)
Deflecting and Responding to Data Security Breaches (February 2006)
"Media Liability" Coverage in Tech/Media/eBusiness Policies (February 2006)
Variations in "Fraud/Dishonesty" Exclusions in Tech/Media/eBusiness Policies (January 2006)
Insuring Liability for Third-Party Claims Seeking Lost Profits (November 2005)
Addressing Liability Risks for Data Loss from an Insurance and Contractual Risk Transfer Perspective (July 2005)
Addressing Privacy Risk from an Insurance and Contractual Risk Transfer Perspective (May 2005)
Storing Liability: The Increasing Risks of Off-Site Data Storage (May 2005)
Privacy: Outsourcing and the Need for a Vendor Compliance Strategy (March 2005)
E-mail Privacy: Does Your E-mail Take a Pit Stop? (September 2004)
Indemnity and Insurance Provisions in E-Business Contracts (July 2004)
Protecting Data Assets: Not Just a Cyberspace Issue (June 2004)
New Liability Forms and Media, Tech, and E-Business Risks (May 2004)
Protecting Your Employees from Identity Theft (February 2004)
Creating a Privacy Policy Compliant with the New Online Privacy Protection Act (December 2003)
Tech E&O—A Primer for Risk Managers (November 2003)
Going Public: Dealing with the Disclosure Mandate of California's Latest Privacy Law (September 2003)
Cyber Liability Insurance Market Update (August 2003)
Security Requirements in a Privacy World (June 2003)
The Growing Privacy Risk and the Insurance Industry (February 2003)
Insuring First-Party Cyber Risk for Fortune 1000 Companies (November 2002)
Stand-Alone E-Business Insurance: Who's Buying, Selling, and Why? (September 2002)
The End of Computer Virus Coverage as We Know It? (May 2002)
You Say Professional Services, I Say B2B Activities (January 2002)
Is Computer Data "Tangible Property" or Subject to "Physical Loss or Damage"?—Part 1 (August 2001)
Is Computer Data "Tangible Property" or Subject to "Physical Loss or Damage"?—Part 2 (November 2001)
E-Commerce Insurance Issues: A Year in Review (June 2001)
New Stand-Alone E-Commerce Insurance for First-Party Risks? (February 2001)
New Stand-Alone E-Commerce Insurance for Third-Party Liability Claims (Part 1) (December 2000)
New Stand-Alone E-Commerce Insurance for Third-Party Liability Claims (Part 2) (December 2000)
Third-Party Liability E-Commerce Risks and Traditional Insurance Programs (August 2000)
First-Party E-Commerce Risks (June 2000)
Insurance Issues for E-Commerce Activities (May 2000)
Expand Drafting and Interpreting Insurance PoliciesDrafting and Interpreting Insurance Policies
Expand Enterprise Risk ManagementEnterprise Risk Management
Expand Internal ControlsInternal Controls
Expand NanotechnologyNanotechnology
Expand Political RiskPolitical Risk
Expand Risk Management: A Systemic ApproachRisk Management: A Systemic Approach
Expand Risk Management TechnologyRisk Management Technology
Expand SecuritySecurity
Expand Terrorism Risk Management & InsuranceTerrorism Risk Management & Insurance
Expand IRMI InsightsIRMI Insights
Expand IRMI Update Newsletter ArchivesIRMI Update Newsletter Archives
Expand Risk Finance InformationRisk Finance Information
Expand Construction InformationConstruction Information
Expand Personal Lines InformationPersonal Lines Information
Expand Claims, Caselaw, LegalClaims, Caselaw, Legal
Expand Insurance IndustryInsurance Industry
Expand Glossary of Insurance & Risk Management TermsGlossary of Insurance & Risk Management Terms
Expand SearchSearch
Terms of Use
Privacy Statement
System Requirements
Support

State Social Media Account Laws for Educational Institutions

August 2013

Education institutions (as well as other organizations in the educational industry, including, without limitation, providers of services to educational institutions) need to take into account state laws that limit an educational institution from requiring students to disclose social media account user names and passwords.

by Melissa J. Krasnow
Dorsey & Whitney LLP

Currently, nine states have such laws:

  • Arkansas (Ark. H.B. 1902)
  • California (Calif. Educ. Code Sections 99120–99122)
  • Delaware (Del. H.B. 309)
  • Illinois (Ill. H.B. 64) (effective January 1, 2014)
  • Michigan (MCL Sections 37.271 et seq.)
  • New Jersey (N.J. Sess. Law 2879, ch. 223)
  • New Mexico (N.M. S.B. 422)
  • Oregon (Or. S.B. 344)
  • Utah (Utah Code Sections 53B–24–101 et seq.)

In a related development, 11 states have employer social media account laws:

  • Arkansas (Ark. H.B. 1901)
  • California (Calif. Lab. Code Section 980)
  • Colorado (Colo. H.B. 1046)
  • Illinois (820 ILCS 55/1 et seq.)
  • Maryland (Md. Lab. and Employment Code Section 3–712)
  • Michigan (MCL Sections 37.271 et seq.)
  • Nevada (Nev. A.B. 181)
  • New Mexico (N.M. S.B. 371)
  • Oregon (Or. H.B. 2654)
  • Utah (Utah Code Sections 34–48–101 et seq.)
  • Washington (Wash. S.B. 5211)

Additional states are considering similar legislation.

This article provides a brief overview of the state educational institution laws. If you wish to obtain a long-form summary of these state laws, please e-mail the author at .

Application

To which educational institutions do these state laws generally apply? These state laws apply to public and private postsecondary educational institutions. The Michigan law also applies to elementary and secondary schools, kindergartens, and nursery schools, public or private educational testing services or administrators, and agents of educational institutions, as well as to employers. MCL Section 37.272, Sec. 2(b)–(c). The Illinois law requires notification by public elementary or secondary schools or school districts or nonpublic schools recognized by the State Board of Education to students and their parents and guardians that such school may request or require a student to provide a password or other related account information to gain access to the student's account or profile on a social networking website if such school has reasonable cause to believe that the student's account contains evidence that the student has violated a school disciplinary rule or policy. This notification must be published in such school's disciplinary rules, policies, or handbook or communicated by similar means. Ill. H.B. 64, Section 15.

What do these state laws typically restrict or prohibit? These state laws restrict educational institutions from requiring or requesting students to disclose their social media account user names and passwords. The Michigan, New Jersey, and Utah laws additionally cover personal accounts or services. MCL Section 37.274, Sec. 4(a); N.J. Sess. Law 2879, ch. 223 Section 2(a); and Utah Code Section 53B–24–201.

Educational institutions also are prohibited from penalizing students for failing to disclose this information. The California law also requires private nonprofit or for-profit postsecondary educational institutions to post their social media privacy policies on the institutions' Internet websites. Calif. Educ. Code Section 99122.

What are some of the exceptions to these state laws? Some state laws provide for exceptions. For example, the California, Delaware, and Oregon laws do not apply to certain types of investigations. Calif. Educ. Code Section 99121(c), Del. H.B. 309 Section 9405, and Or. S.B. 344 Section 1(2)(A)–(B). The Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, and Utah laws carve out information about a student that is in the public domain. Ark. H.B. 1902 Subsection (d); Ill. H.B. 64, Section 10(c); MCL Section 37.276, Sec. 6(2); N.M. S.B. 422 Section 1(D); and Utah Code Section 53B–24–202(2). The Michigan and Utah laws allow educational institutions to require or request a student to disclose a user name and password to gain access to or operate (1) an electronic communications device paid for by the educational institution or (2) an account or service provided by the educational institution that is either obtained by virtue of the student's admission to the educational institution or used by the student for educational purposes. MCL Section 37.276, Sec. 6(1) and Utah Code Section 53B–24–202(1).

What types of enforcement do these state laws provide? By way of example, the Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, and Utah laws provide for civil actions. MCL Section 37.278, Sec. 8(2); N.J. Sess. Law 2879, ch. 223 Section 4; Or. S.B. 344 Section 2(1); and Utah Code Section 53B–24–301. The Illinois and Michigan laws provide for criminal penalties. Ill. H.B. 64, Section 20, and MCL Section 37.278, Sec. 8(1).

Action Items

What steps can organizations take? First, organizations should take these state laws into account and monitor developments such as legislation being considered in other states. Second, organizations should determine whether these state laws apply to them or organizations with which they conduct business or otherwise have a relationship. Third, organizations should assess their policies, contracts, and practices and make any modifications in light of these state laws. Fourth, private nonprofit and for-profit postsecondary educational institutions in California need to prepare and post their social media privacy policies on their institutions' Internet websites. Calif. Educ. Code Section 99122.


Opinions expressed in Expert Commentary articles are those of the author and are not necessarily held by the author's employer or IRMI. Expert Commentary articles and other IRMI Online content do not purport to provide legal, accounting, or other professional advice or opinion. If such advice is needed, consult with your attorney, accountant, or other qualified adviser.

Advertisements
    
 
© 2000-2014 International Risk Management Institute, Inc. (IRMI). All rights reserved.