• Maryland Legislature Passes User Name and Password Privacy Protection and Exclusions Law
  • June 14, 2012 | Author: Angela E. Currie
  • Law Firm: Business & Technology Law Group - Columbia Office
  • Effective October 1, 2012, the User Name and Password Privacy Protection and Exclusions Law (“Act”) will prohibit Maryland employers from requesting or requiring that an employee, or an applicant for employment, provide access to personal social media accounts.  The Act forbids employers from asking for any user name, password or other means to access a personal account or service thorough an electronic communications device, including computers, telephones, and personal digital assistants.   The Act forbids employers from discharging, disciplining, penalizing or threatening to do any of the foregoing for an employee’s refusal to disclose any such information.   However the Act does not restrict employers from searching social media accounts and viewing publically available information of an employee or an applicant.

    Employers may also require that an employee provide information for accessing non-personal accounts or services that afford access to the employer’s internal computer or information systems.  The Act does not prevent employers from conducting investigations into an employee’s use of a personal web-based account for business purposes to ensure complaint with securities, financial or other regulatory requirements.   Nor does it prevent an employer from investigating the downloading of the employer’s proprietary or financial data onto a personal web-based account.