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California bill would prevent monitoring of students’ social media accounts

The California state Senate last week sent a unanimous bill to Governer Jerry Brown that would forbid schools from asking students to provide their social media usernames and/or passwords.

Social media and student privacy has been a hotly debated issue recently. Also last week, the Kentucky Courier-Journal reported that athletes at Kentucky universities will have to install a monitoring software application on their personal social media accounts. The software “listens” for certain words used by students on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace (yes, it still exists) or YouTube.  If any of the flagged words come up, the software will alert coaches or administrators.

California lawyer Brad Shear, who took part in writing the legislation, says the bill is intended to protect both students and taxpayers and that the monitoring may already be illegal as dictated in the First, Fourth, and Fifth amendments. California’s governor has until September 30 to sign the state’s bill.

“It protects schools from social media snake oil salesmen and it protects students privacy too,” said Shear.