The bill forbids college officials from forcing a student to accept their friend requests or otherwise provide a window into his or her social media activity. The students are also protected from any requirement to change their security settings or hand over their account usernames and passwords.
Civil liberties advocates hail the measure as a logical extension of traditional applications of the Fourth Amendment.
“Allowing coaches or universities to read what you post on social media that’s supposed to be for friends only is like giving them access to your diary or giving them access to your photo album that you have in your house,” said Sara Love, public policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland.
That doesn’t mean students and teachers can never be Facebook friends. The legislation states that a student can voluntarily connect with a college official. And a college can compel a student to grant access to a social media account that was opened at the school’s behest, according to the bill. School officials are also free to check out student information that is publicly accessible online.
A student whose rights under the bill are violated could demand up to $1,000 in damages from the school, according to the bill.
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See Also: Read/Track the Bill (SB210)