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Social Media Privacy & Safety: Laws to Protect You at Work

By Evan L. Kaine

Our everyday lives are surrounded by updates from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and thousands of other social media sites. We have become habitual users of several different platforms that take us away from real human interaction. Some individuals choose to interact with these platforms because it is easier or because he/she is not being accepted at their job, home or school. As many of us have heard, a young woman was killed in Virginia as a result of someone “preying” on her from one of these social media sites. Unfortunately these horrific stories have become increasingly common—whether it is in threats, stalking or even death.

As adults we may think we know what our children are looking at online. We may think that we have a handle on who they are talking to on Facebook. We may even believe that we are keeping a close watch on what is being said over the worldwide web.

Think again.

The instance of the young woman from Virginia is one of thousands where young people are successfully creating numerous personas online. The social platform called Kik—which allows its users to remain anonymous and send photos from their phones that aren’t saved on their phones — leaving no trace. Without any trace of evidence, parents are kept from truly knowing what their child is sending or receiving.

This topic is so important and one that all parents should review before turning the other cheek. Many states have taken it upon themselves to pass laws protecting social media accounts. While this may not necessarily protect our children or teenagers directly—the government is aware of how important online privacy is to those who utilize it daily.

Georgia’s privacy bill is directed towards employees—a start for what many Congress men and women hope to build off of as online privacy becomes more and more troublesome. A portion of the Bill can be found below.

(a)  As used in this Code section, the term:

1)  ‘Electronic communications device’ means any device that uses electronic signals to create, transmit, or receive information. Electronic communications devices include computers, telephones, personal digital assistants, and other similar devices.

(2)  ‘Employee’ means any person engaged in service to an employer in a business of the employer.

(3)  ‘Employer’ means any person or entity that employs one or more employees and shall include the government of the State of Georgia or the government of any political subdivision of the State of Georgia or any branch, department, board, bureau, commission, or authority of any such government.

(4)  ‘Social media’ means an electronic service or account, or electronic content, including, but not limited to, videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, e-mail, online services or accounts, or Internet website profiles or locations.

(b)  No employer nor an employer’s agent, representative, or designee shall request or require that an employee or prospective employee disclose any username, password, or other means of accessing a personal account or service through an electronic communications device.

(c)  No employer nor an employer’s agent, representative, or designee shall request or require that an employee or prospective employee access personal social media in the presence of the employer or divulge any personal social media activity, except as described in subsection (d) of this Code section.

(d) Nothing in this Code section shall affect an employer’s existing rights and obligations to request an employee to divulge any personal social media activity reasonably believed to be relevant to an investigation of allegations of an employee’s misconduct or violation of applicable laws and regulations, provided that the social media activity is used solely for purposes of that investigation or a related proceeding.

(e)  Nothing in this Code section shall be construed as preventing an employer from requiring an employee to disclose any username, password, or other means of accessing nonpersonal accounts or services that provide access to the employer’s internal computer or information systems.

(f)  Any employer, employer’s agent, representative, or designee that violates any provision of this Code section may be assessed a civil penalty of not less than $200.00 nor more than $400.00.

We will be discussing this topic further as our local, state and national leadership need to make this a priority. Like the young girl from Virginia, we do not want our children or teenagers to fall victim to such horrific acts. The privacy and safety of anyone using social media accounts should be protected—and we hope that this post helps create an even larger discussion at home.

The attorneys at Kaine Law can stand by your side and help you obtain workers compensation benefits. To speak to a highly qualified lawyer, contact us today by phone at 404-214-2001 or via our online form. Hablamos español.

Posted in Uncategorized |
Published February 11, 2016
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