Barrett Backs More Privacy for Social Media

Press Release

Boston – The Massachusetts State Senate has taken a major new step to protect the social media accounts of students and employees in the Commonwealth. 

For the past year and a half, Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) has served as an original cosponsor of “An Act relative to social media privacy protection,” which passed the Senate last week.  The legislation prevents employers and schools from requesting or requiring access to the personal social media accounts of employees, students and job or school applicants as conditions of acceptance, employment, or participation in school activities.

“Employers and schools should not have the right to demand that applicants, employees and students hand over private passwords that protect social media accounts such as Facebook.  If communications are not intended to be seen by the general public, they should be out of bounds for employers and school officials, too.  This legislation safeguards a person’s right to lead a private life.” 

“I’m proud to have bipartisan support among my Senate colleagues to increase online privacy protections for students and employees,” said Senator Cynthia Creem (D-Newton), Senate Majority Leader and the chief sponsor of the bill. 

“Absent truly unusual circumstances, we would never allow employers or school officials to read through our hard-copy diaries, open our snail mail, or rifle through our personal photo albums.  Private communications and information we store online in personal social media accounts merit the same protection.”