February 20 2012
More on the Maryland legislators: Introduce bill to protect student-athlete social media privacy rights
This excerpt is taken from a blog post of Kevin DeShazo whose company FieldHouse Media
provides social media education and monitoring for student-athlete, coaches and athletic administrators. Read the full post here
Two Maryland lawmakers recently submitted a bill aimed at protecting the privacy rights of student-athletes when it comes to social media. Social Media law attorney Bradley Shear, had this to say about the bill
. It should be noted that this bill has not been passed and, if it does, will only impact Maryland. If it does pass, however, expect similar laws to be quickly introduced and passed around the country.
To summarize the text from the Senate website, it is designed for:
- Prohibiting an institution of postsecondary education from requiring a student or an applicant for admission to provide access to a personal account or service through an electronic communications device, to disclose any user name, password, or other means for accessing specified accounts or services through an electronic communications device, or to install on specified electronic communications devices software that monitors or tracks electronic content; etc.
As you can imagine, this has created a significant amount of discussion, from university compliance offices to The New York Times
It has also become a significant topic of conversation between us and universities. Whether from a current client, a potential client, or even programs that are utilizing competitors, concerns are being voiced.
In an effort to be transparent, here is a question we [FieldHouse Media] get asked most often.
• Are you, as a firm that monitors the social media activity of collegiate student-athletes, against this bill?
Absolutely not. In fact I’m very much for this bill. I won’t go into the specifics of our business practices or technology, but I will say that the privacy of student-athletes is something I take very seriously. Through our social media monitoring service, the private information of student-athletes is not only never collected, it is never accessed.
... We aren’t creating a “digital archive” of their online history. We aren’t about creating a culture of fear ... During our social media education sessions, we advise student-athletes not to give their password to anybody, not to friend anybody they don’t know, and to understand the privacy settings on each social network in order to better protect themselves.
The need for social media monitoring won’t go away. The key is to combine it with education. Everything we do ... is to help student-athletes make better decisions online.