Del. House passes social media privacy bill

DOVER, Del. (AP) — The Delaware House on Tuesday passed a bill prohibiting public and private schools in Delaware from requiring that students or applicants for enrollment provide their social networking login information.

With little debate, House members voted unanimously for the bill. It also prohibits schools and universities from requesting that a student or applicant log onto a social networking site so that school officials can access the site profile or account.

“With the number of kids who have social media sites and choose to share information with a select audience, I thought it was important to provide them some protection if they choose not to share that with the entire world,” said Rep. Darryl Scott, D-Dover, the legislation’s chief sponsor.

The bill initially introduced by Scott applied only to universities and institutions of higher education. An amendment approved Tuesday expands the scope of the legislation to primary and secondary schools as well. The amendment also allows for exemptions for investigations by police agencies or a school’s public safety department based on a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity or a school’s threat assessment policy or protocol.

Scott also is the sponsor of a companion bill that would prevent Delaware employers from demanding that employees and job applicants disclose social media login information. That bill, which cleared a House committee last month, also includes an amendment allowing exemptions to the privacy requirements for law enforcement investigations.

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