Employer Requests for Social Media Passwords Under Scrutiny

Following a growing trend among states, Ohio recently introduced legislation to bar employers from requiring current or prospective employees to provide access to their private social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter.  Although to date Maryland is the only state with a law on the books prohibiting employers from requiring or requesting access to a current or prospective employee’s private social media accounts (Maryland’s law does not go into effect until October 1, 2012), approximately a dozen other states are considering similar legislation, including California, Delaware, Illinois and New York.  Click here for a list of the state bills. Read More

Ninth Circuit Limits Federal Criminal Liability Reach of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to Hackers Only, Not Employees in Violation of Company Policy

Employees cannot be criminally prosecuted by the federal government for breach of an employer’s computer policies, according to the Ninth Circuit’s April 10, 2012 en banc opinion in U.S. v. Nosal.  The 9-2 en banc panel (with a strongly worded dissent) opted to narrowly construe the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) to avoid creating a world in which employees could be held criminally liable for “workplace dalliances” like accessing social media sites which may be in violation of a company policy that work computers may be used for business purposes only.  The opinion reversed the Ninth Circuit’s earlier April 28, 2011 panel decision and further deepened a split among circuits on this issue. Read More