NC lawmaker pushes legislation protecting online privacy

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Lawmakers across the country are pushing to protect your privacy online, including one here in North Carolina.

State representative Duane Hall is introducing a bill making it illegal for schools or employers to require giving up passwords to social media.

WNCT is digging into what this could mean for you.

When applying for jobs and even while you’re in school, you’re always told to assume anything you put online is public, even if your profile is set to private, and that it never goes away. This legislation could completely change that concept. It would allow school administrators or employers to access your profile only with your permission or a warrant.

There are some limitations, however, in cases such as harassment, criminal investigation, or emergencies.

This is just one prong in a multi-state effort pushing for privacy rights. But there are mixed emotions about these kinds of regulations.

Attorney Peter Romary says while it’s time to lay out guidelines for social media, the language in this bill needs to be clearer.

“What we’re doing here if we’re not careful is we are restricting the ability of institutions and of employers to verify, ‘Is what this person is telling us consistent with what they’re telling everybody else?’” said QVerity Legal’s Romary.

Representative Hall presented a similar bill in 2013, which passed the House but stalled in the Senate.

He plans to introduce this measure when the General Assembly reconvenes in April.

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