Md. law limits colleges’ access to students’ social media accounts

WASHINGTON — Starting Monday, a new law makes it illegal for colleges in Maryland to demand access to students’ social media accounts.

Whether it’s a public or private university, the law — signed by Gov. Larry Hogan last month — makes it illegal for a college to demand access to a student’s private social media accounts. The law applies to current and prospective students.

In a changing digital and social media landscape, the law shields colleges from legal liability over students’ speech through social media platforms. Also, it gives students legal grounds to sue a college for breaking the rules.

The law doesn’t cover all social-media use, however. Universities are still allowed to access information that is publicly available or accessed through university-owned computers or networks.

Also, a third party can share information from social media accounts with officials.

Additionally, the law doesn’t allow school officials to force students to accept a “friend request.”

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