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New Social Media Privacy Laws Raise Questions for Financial Firms

Joe Mont | October 10, 2012

Across the nation, states are passing new laws that prevent employers from demanding passwords and access to the personal social media accounts of their employees or potential hires.

In a time when the line between personal and business use of Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook is increasingly blurred, however, these laws may have unintended consequences that force legal and compliance departments to rethink their current approach to social media.

California, Maryland, and Illinois have enacted legislation that, starting next year, prohibits employers from requesting or requiring an employee or applicant to disclose user names or passwords for personal online accounts. Fourteen other states have introduced similar bills this year, and members of Congress proposed federal legislation in May, the Password Protection Act of 2012, with the same goal.

While few have questioned the good intentions of the laws, many in the financial industry are concerned that they could...

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