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Municipal government / Policies / Privacy / Social media

Delaware has 4 new internet privacy laws

The laws, mostly geared towards protecting the privacy of schoolchildren, were proposed by Attorney General Matt Denn earlier this year.

Gov. Jack Markell. (Photo by Flickr user Karen Murphy, used under a Creative Commons license)

A four-bill internet privacy and safety package was passed by Gov. Jack Markell late last week.
Two laws in the package — which was introduced earlier this year by Attorney General Matt Denn and a group of bi-partisan legislators — are largely geared towards protecting the safety of Delaware schoolchildren by restricting the accessibility of personal data living on their school computers, largely used to advertise inappropriate products.
The third law is a statewide extension of a federal program that protects victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The fourth law in the package, sponsored by State Sen. Bryan Townsend and Rep. Bryon Short prohibits employers from requiring employees and applicants to “disclose information that would give the employer access to their personal social media accounts.”
“More and more, people are including a lot of personal information on their social media sites. Giving an employer or potential employer access to those accounts is akin to letting a stranger read your personal journal,” said Short. “It’s a fine line to walk, between respecting a company’s right to know whether an employee is potentially causing harm to the business through their social media behavior, and forcing a worker to give access to his or her sites.”
Short said the new law is an “important step forward” for Delaware in establishing balanced social media privacy.
Markell, who applauded the bi-partisan effort, said the restrictions on how personal information is shared are “reasonable.”
“While the internet has revolutionized the way we live and work, and made possible countless advances in our society, we must also recognize that it has made our citizens’ personal information more vulnerable than ever,” Markell said.

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