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Maryland is the first state to pass a law to expressly restrict employers from asking applicants and employees for social media account log-in credentials. Effective October 1, 2012 (assuming the Governor signs the law), employers are prohibited from requiring, or even asking, that applicants or employees disclose “any means for accessing,” such as a user name or password, for “any personal account or service” accessed through “computers, telephones, personal digital assistants, and other similar devices.” The Maryland law also prohibits an employer from taking or threatening any form of adverse action based on an employee’s or applicant’s refusal to provide a user name or password to a personal account. Notably, the Maryland law contains no enforcement provision. It remains to be seen through judicial interpretation whether the Act’s restrictions bar an employer from, for example, asking an employee or applicant to log into a personal account without disclosing the log-in credentials to the employer so the employer can observe the content of the personal account.

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