New Hampshire has become the latest state to enact a social media access statute, the Use of Social Media and Electronic Mail, NH RSA 275:73–75. The law takes effect on September 30.
In an article in the September 5 – 18 issue of the New Hampshire Business Review, attorney James Harris briefly analyzes how the new social media access law will work. From the article:
Employers are now prohibited from requiring employees and applicants to disclose their login information for personal accounts, a method some employers used to directly monitor communications and to observe social media activities. Employers are also prohibited from requiring employees and applicants to “like,” “friend” or “connect” with an agent of the employer so that the employer can view all posts sent or received by the employee.
The Legislature did, however, specifically enumerate activities employers may lawfully undertake. Employers are allowed to adopt and enforce “lawful” policies governing the use of the employer’s electronic resources, social networking sites and email resources. The Legislature did not define “lawful,” but it is common for employers to adopt policies expressly reserving the right to monitor any communications sent or received using the employer’s network, and the new law allows employers to continue to do so.