Is there ever Privacy with Social Media?

Social MediaOn September 27, 2012, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a regulation that prohibits employers from requiring applicants and employees to allow them access to social media sites where, presumably, the employers might find information that would affect employment decisions. 

So the question is, does this mean people will go crazy again in their postings, or have we learned the lesson and will refrain from posting those damaging photos?

As the mother of an eleven year-old son, I worry that he will post something that could haunt him forever. I personally, plan to keep the scare tactic going with him – be careful what you post because it will affect your “fill in the blank”…college entrance, job hunt, first meeting with potential in-laws, etc.

Has your organization asked for access to your social media profile? Have you looked at profiles for a work employee? What about for a babysitter for your kids?

Do you have policies in place for what your allow users to post when using a corporate-owned device?

Can they send personal pictures? Does it matter what the pictures are of? Is it ok if it’s their kid at a soccer game? What about sexually explicit pictures? Are they allowed to send text messages?

Remember this story from Ontario, CA where the Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s ruling that the police chief had the right to read transcripts of sexually explicit text messages sent from an officer’s work pager? The office had sued that the Chief was violating his privacy and violated his 4th Amendment protection against “unreasonable searches.” The lower court agreed with the office saying there was no need to snoop through the messages since he was told he could use the pager for personal messages as long as he paid the cost.

But the Supreme Court disagreed. The justices said the law favors the employer, not the employee. A public employee has at most “a limited privacy expectation” when using a text pager supplied by the police department, the justices said.

“Because the search [by the police chief] was motivated by a legitimate work-related purpose and because it was not excessive in scope, the search was reasonable,” said Justice Anthony M. Kennedy in City of Ontario vs. Quon.

What are you doing to protect your organization from these types of lawsuits? We’d love to hear from you.


Amy Bailey (103 Blog Posts)

Amy Bailey is the VP of Marketing at VXSuite has been with the product line for over eight years. Over the years she has filled may roles including Sales Manager and Project Manager. She is a graduate of San Diego State University with BA's in Speech Communication and Liberal Arts. Amy was Associated Students' President while at SDSU and has several years of sales and management experience in the high-end retail clothing industry. She enjoys knitting, country music and spending time with family.