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Opinion: Maryland Law Leaves Breathing Room

PRIVACY LAW—U.S.

April 11, 2012

Earlier this week, Maryland became the first state in the U.S. to ban employers from asking employees and job applicants for their social media account passwords. Similar bills are pending in five other U.S. states. But the law, while seemingly overly broad at first, contains no enforcement provision, opines Phil Gordon of Littler Mendelson, an employment and labor law firm. Further, "It's critical for employers to understand the types of conduct that the law does not prohibit," he writes, including passwords to personal devices, such as smartphones, and "shoulder surfing," meaning an employer could still ask an employee to log in to a social media site while the employer observes.
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