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Social Network Privacy Act: Could it help future CarlyCrunkBears?

Categories: Politics

Thumbnail image for carly crunk bear cropped.jpg
Carly McKinney.
The uproar over photos and messages associated with the Twitter account of Overland High's Carly McKinney, aka CarlyCrunkBear, offers a cautionary tale about the ways in which social media has changed the professional landscape. But a new bill headed to the Colorado legislature could make losing one's job for imprudent social-media usage a little more difficult.

The Social Network Privacy Act, sponsored by Colorado Representative Angela Williams, a Denver Democrat, wasn't inspired by McKinney's situation. But it could help active users of social media like her by making it illegal for employers to demand that current or potential employees provide the username and password of their social-media accounts.

Angela Williams.jpg
Representative Angela Williams.
The idea for the bill came from reading stories about other states that have implemented similar measures, Williams says.

"One of the things I thought about is, if you have a social-media account, and that is a personal account, it has nothing to do with the employer. That is private information that doesn't have to be disclosed."

Currently, six states have enacted social media privacy laws: California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan and New Jersey. A handful of others have similar legislation pending.

Williams' bill does not prevent employers from viewing profiles to "ensure compliance with applicable securities or financial law or regulatory requirements" or "investigating an employee's electronic communications," but it would put basic privacy protections in place.

In the meantime, Williams stresses that people need to become more aware of how social-media usage can affect them.

"As a user, you have to realize that when you are using social media, if you put it out there on a public site, all bets are off," she notes.

The bill is still undergoing revisions, but Williams hopes to have a final draft ready by next week.

If the legislation passes, could it help McKinney should see lose her job? Unfortunately for CarlyCrunkBear, the bill is not retroactive.

Although Williams has yet to officially present the bill, she's already heard rumblings of support from the American Civil Liberties Union, and she is optimistic about gaining other supporters once the final version of the measure is finished.

"We just think this bill is getting a lot of traction," she says. "It's getting a lot of attention, so it tells me the social technology highway moves so quickly. This is all about privacy -- it's a privacy act."

Here's the most recent version of the Social Network Privacy Act.

Social Network Privacy Act

More from our News archive: "Carly McKinney, aka CarlyCrunkBear: DJ Diplo rallies for suspended teacher at #FreeCrunkBear."


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36 comments
LadyFarin Dekker
LadyFarin Dekker

Yep. That's why I lie and say I don't have any accounts and why nothing related to my personal data is ever posted online, evah.

Eric Lawrence
Eric Lawrence

No!! It's a free country and that is no an invasion of space. plus I'd just lie and say I don't have one or never get on and don't remember the pw

Rob Salyers
Rob Salyers

Wouldn't matter in this case. She posted her stupidity on Twitter for the entire internet to see.

ecurmudgeon
ecurmudgeon

Nothing to see here - even 20 years ago in the pre-commercial Internet days, it was well known that anything posted online will become public at some point.

So even today, don't put online anything you're not comfortable seeing on the front page of the New York Times (or the Denver Post, or your employer's HR intranet) the next day.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

No need for Carly McCrunkslut's username and password, since she PUBLICLY posted her dirty panties and puerile pot punkery for the WORLD to see.

Cops and Employers don't need warrants when idiots are foolish enough to deliberately put their nonsense out in PUBLIC, including their photos.

The clueless idiocy of the Facebook generation.

The Social Network Privacy Act would not have helped vainglorious stoners like Carly.

Cody Truesdale
Cody Truesdale

My question is what kind of employers are asking for this shit?

Steven Fowler
Steven Fowler

Absolutely there should be laws against it!!!!!

Jack Thursby
Jack Thursby

Ok, Steve-At-Half-Baked, perhaps you should be more than willing to hand over the keys to your own house to prospective employers if they so request it. What's the difference between that and providing them passwords to your personal online accounts? Idiot.

Mark Ewell
Mark Ewell

Yes, it should be illegal to even ask.

Stacey Cummins
Stacey Cummins

There are many states passing laws against employers and potential employers requesting passwords and access to social media sites. It is an issue of privacy...there are many articles in the privacy world about this...it's interesting (yet scary) to see what is going on. And Wayne DeNucci...if I didn't use a computer at work, then how would I get my work done? The issue isn't what you're doing while at work, but these employers are overstepping their bounds by wanting to see what you do outside of work. People can be one way at work and completely different outside of work.

Annie Beechum
Annie Beechum

@Jeff, It's the PARENT'S responsibility to make sure their precious kids are not subscribed to an inappropriate twitter account NOT their teacher's responsibility.

Annie Beechum
Annie Beechum

It does not depend on whether you work with children or not! As long as the children are not involved in any way teachers are entitled to a private life just like the rest of us. More PARENTS smoke and drink at home right in front of their kids than teachers will ever post on the internet. Teachers are not Gods that need to be held to non-human standards. They are just like everyone else and deserve to have a life outside of work to do with what they please. As long as they do not involve the children and don't use a work computer (just like anyone else with a job). My employer asking for my facebook password is like asking to look in my underwear drawer. Not OK. None of your business.

Roy Forgy
Roy Forgy

Simple answer, NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS>

Benjamin Reyes Jr.
Benjamin Reyes Jr.

You should have to take a "Web User License" in order to go online!

Jeff Williams
Jeff Williams

depends on if you work with children this lady is posting pic's and allowing her students to see them. student's in a hormone driven age... it's either we stop it now or do we make teaching age appropriate because this woman clearly doesn't understand the age difference

Laurence Spoo
Laurence Spoo

Good luck with that one not Going to happen . I know some companies hire people to hack in to Facebook and check up on you. That is why I fo not use my full real name. I will give my yahoo address because that is how some companies post their scheduling.

Wayne Lee DeNucci
Wayne Lee DeNucci

Its simple ..DONT USE THE COMPUTER AT WORK and if you do remember theres always someone watching

Jay Jurgens
Jay Jurgens

really with all the crap on lawmakers books we have to debate this?if someone asked me for that id tell em HELL NO.what i do outside of work isnt anyones buisneess but mine

Jamie Calhoun
Jamie Calhoun

I don't have anything damaging on my facebook but I still wouldnt provide a password to my PERSONAL info. What's next my online banking password so they can see how I spend my money?

Mike Milos
Mike Milos

There should be. If an employer asked me for my info, they would be a former employer pretty fast!

Stephen At Half Aspen
Stephen At Half Aspen

Who cares? If you don't have an alternative site, one generic and benign, it's your own fault. Create a second account, one including a middle name or initial and a different email address, and provide them access to that if its insisted. You've complied. You've provided them access to "your" account. No one said it had to be your only account.

Matt Thyer
Matt Thyer

Well there shouldn't have to be a law. But since there are employers (i.e. people) interested in mucking about in my personal business and judging me harshly for it I guess that means that there should be a law. Either that or a lot of people should develop a polite spine and reply with "no, go fuck yourself."

Leah Ryan
Leah Ryan

Yep. If my employer requested something like that, I would flat out say no. They can make me provide passwords for something personal and non work related!

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@LadyFarin Dekker That's one strategy, LadyFarin. Thanks for the post.

BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

@Eric Lawrence Brilliant.  I'm sure an employer would have no problem Googling your name, Eric Lawrence, finding your PICTURE next to COMMENTS MADE BY YOU about your intent to NOT TELL THE TRUTH.  You invented the screen door on the submarine, didn't you?  Or was it the solar-powered flashlight?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Eric Lawrence "It's a free country"

How quaint.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Rob Salyers 

Twitwits are as Twitwits do.


BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

@Chris Estus Wow, such an eloquent discourse!  There's no way those exact words were ever uttered on hundreds of conservative AM radio stations.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cody Truesdale ... high-paying careers you'll never attain.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Jack Thursby ... so who's forcing you to apply / accept any particular job, eh nitwit?

Yet you've got no problem with the Background / Drug / Credit checks that the sheeple willing submit to for employment, housing, school, etc, eh?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Mark Ewell  ... hate the First Amendment much?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Benjamin Reyes Jr.  ... a.k.a. the "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" test.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Laurence Spoo  ... because no one could ever figure out who you really are from the personal information you do post online, right genius?


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BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

@Leah Ryan Unless current laws change, or if you're willing to file a lawsuit and endure the loss of thousands of dollars and weeks of waiting, you WILL provide your employers said information.  You don't have any protection from being fired for ANY reason, whatsoever, unless you're a lesbian albino eskimo in a wheelchair.

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