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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Wisconsin to Ban Landlords, Employers, and Universities from Requesting Social Media Passwords

By now most are aware of the numerous legislative efforts across the country to prevent employers from requiring employees to turn over social media passwords (for an example go here).  Wisconsin has taken this concept one step forward with SB 223 which not only limits employers but also landlords and universities from requesting social media passwords from tenants and students respectively.  According to the bill’s sponsors, this bipartisan legislation would make it illegal to require an employe, job applicant, student, prospective student, tenant or prospective tenant to turn over their username and password to any social media website. The legislation recently passed the Wisconsin state houses and now awaits the governor’s signature.

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LinkedIn and User Privacy

LinkedIn just announced that it now offers a feature to allows users to block other folks on LinkedIn.  The instructions below illustrate how the process works.  However, LinkedIn recommends that prior to blocking a user, you first turn on your “anonymous profile viewing” setting to avoid leaving a digital trail on the LinkedIn account of the soon to be blocked user. 

To block a member from viewing your profile:

  1. Go to the profile of the person you’d like to block.
  2. Move your cursor over the                   down arrow next to the button in the top section of the member’s profile. Button name may vary.
  3. Select Block or Report next to the member’s name.
  4. Click Continue.
  5. On the next screen, click Agree to confirm your action.

Once you’ve blocked a member, they’ll appear on your blocked list. The blocked member won’t receive any notification of this action. You may block up to 50 members on LinkedIn. Learn more about what blocking does and doesn’t do.

To unblock a member:

  1. Move your cursor over your profile photo in the top right of your homepage and select Privacy & Settings.
    • You may be prompted to sign in again.
  2. Click Manage who you’re blocking at the bottom of the Profile tab under Privacy Controls.
  3. From your blocked list, find the person’s name and click Unblock.

Important: You will not be able to block a member again within 48 hours of unblocking them. Additionally, unblocking a member does not restore a connection if you were previously connected. If you’d like this person to join your network again, you’ll have to send them a new invitation to connect.

Imgur Reaches 130 Million Monthly Visitors

The LA Times has an interesting story about Imgur.  For those who are not familiar with this social media platform, Imgur is a fairly new site that allows individuals to upload photos to include memes.  Once the user uploads the image, Imgurians (those who use the site) vote on the image and it is sorted by popularity (think reddit)  

Unlike most social media platforms this site learned early on how to make a profit.  Also, Imgur has never received any venture capitalist financing.  This is not to say, however, that other companies like Yahoo are not interested in obtaining Imgur.  According to the 26-year old founder Alan Schaaf, he wants Imgur to become the YouTube for images. With 130 million visitors last month, it appears that Imgur is on the right path to fulfilling its founder’s goals.

To read the entire article go here.

Overview of Legislation Prohibiting Employers from Accessing an Employees Social Media Account

No Surfing Allowed: A Review and Analysis of Legislation Prohibiting Employers from Demanding Access to Employees’ and Job Applicants’ Social Media Accounts
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Robert Sprague

Abstract: This article examines recent state legislation prohibiting employers from requesting username and password information from employees and job applicants in order to access restricted portions of those employees’ and job applicants’ personal social media accounts. This article raises the issue of whether this legislation is even needed, from both practical and legal perspectives, focusing on: (a) how prevalent the practice is of requesting employees’ and job applicants’ social media access information; (b) whether alternative laws already exist which prohibit employers from requesting employees’ and job applicants’ social media access information; and (c) whether any benefits can be derived from this legislative output. After analyzing the potential impact of this legislation on employees, job applicants, and employers, this article concludes that such legislation is but an answer seeking a problem and raises more questions than it answers.

Legal Guide to the Use of Social Media in the Workplace

The state of Minnesota in conjunction with the law firm of Gray Plant Mooty has created a legal guide entitled The Use of Social Media in the WorkplaceWhile geared towards folks in Minnesota, this guide is an excellent resource for any business or law firm that deals with social media related issues.  Here is a brief description.  

The purpose of this Guide is to help businesses navigate the legal issues related to the use of social media, to provide a basic overview of the legal landscape with a focus on practical tips, best business practices, and general guidance to help businesses avoid costly mistakes and potential liability.  In addition to educating employees on proper use of social media, businesses might also consider adopting appropriate corporate policies related to use of the internet and technology.

Sage Advice About Negative Online Reviews

JD Supra offers some great legal and business advice regarding negative online comments and reviews (think YELP).  The advice, which comes from experts in the field, targets those who not only make comments but also those subject to the comments made.  For example, the experts inform the reader why it matters when an online reviewer offers an opinion versus a factual claim.  The former generally speaking is not sufficient to serve as a basis for a defamation lawsuit while the latter is.  To learn more about the advice offered go here.

 

Latest Edition of the Socially Aware Newsletter

Latest edition of the Socially Aware Newsletter put out by Morrison and Foerster is now available.

Here is an overview of what is in the newsletter.

In this issue of Socially Aware, our Burton Award-winning guide to the law and business of social media, we summarize the FFIEC’s recently-issued final guidance on social media use by financial institutions; we report on a new NLRB decision holding that particularly egregious social media postings by employees may fall outside the protections of the NLRA; we provide an update on the California Attorney General’s guidance regarding compliance with the state’s “do-not-track” disclosure requirements for websites; we discuss a recent case that calls into question the status of domain names as intangible property; we take a look at the latest in a string of cases exploring the First Amendment status of social media activity by government employees; and we highlight an important FTC settlement with a mobile app publisher related to data collection and sharing disclosures. All this plus a collection of surprising statistics about the most popular people, videos, tweets and hashtags of 2013.