Sacramento Watch: Social Snooping and Mobile Privacy

Governor Brown Signs Social Media Snooping Law

California Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 1844 (Campos) and Senate Bill 1349 (Yee) which prohibit prohibit universities and employers from requiring that applicants give up their email or social media account passwords. “The Golden State is pioneering the social media revolution and these laws will protect all Californians from unwarranted invasions of their personal social media accounts,” said Governor Brown.

Assembly Bill 1844 by Nora Campos prohibits employers from demanding user names, passwords or any other information related to social media accounts from employees and job applicants. Employers are banned from discharging or disciplining employees who refuse to divulge such information under the terms of the bill. However, this restriction does not apply to passwords or other information used to access employer-issued electronic devices. The bill further stipulates that nothing in its language is intended to infringe on employers’ existing rights and obligations to investigate workplace misconduct.

Senate Bill 1349 by Leland Yee establishes a similar privacy policy for postsecondary education students with respect to their use of social media. While the bill prohibits public and private institutions from requiring students, prospective students and student groups to disclose user names, passwords or other information about their use of social media, it stipulates that this prohibition does not affect the institution’s right to investigate or punish student misconduct.

Cal AG Harris Gives 30 Day Warning to Mobile App Developers

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris began formally notifying scores of mobile application developers and companies that they are not in compliance with California privacy law.  The companies were given 30 days to conspicuously post a privacy policy within their app that informs users of what personally identifiable information about them is being collected and what will be done with that private information.  This action follows a twitter exchange Harris had with United Airlines in response to their announcement of their new mobile app in which he responded “Fabulous app”  but “where’s your apps privacy policy.”  Other companies notified are reported to include Delta Airlines and Open Table.

Earlier in the year Harris reached  an agreement with the seven leading mobile and social app platforms to improve privacy protections. Those platforms – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and Research in Motion – agreed to privacy principles designed to bring the industry in line with California law requiring mobile apps that collect personal information to have a privacy policy. The agreement allows consumers the opportunity to review an app’s privacy policy before they download the app rather than after, and offers consumers a consistent location for an app’s privacy policy on the application-download screen in the platform store.

More Info:  Governor Brown’s Signing StatementAttorney General’s Press Release; United, Delta Said to be Warned by California on Privacy, Bloomberg