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School districts say 'no password' law could hurt anti-bullying efforts

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)   Wisconsin school boards are concerned that a bill to prevent companies from snooping in their employees’ social media accounts might hurt efforts to prevent cyber-bullying by students. One of the bill’s main authors does not agree that’s the case. Madison Assembly Democrat Melissa Sargent says she’ll work with Dan Rossmiller of the state School Boards’ Association, to make sure that schools can still conduct online inquiries into things like bullying and sex-related text messages to students. Rossmiller expressed the only concerns about the anti-snooping bill at a public hearing yesterday before the state Senate’s Judiciary Committee.

Sargent and Senate Republican Glenn Grothman of West Bend are the main authors of a bill to prevent employers and college administrators from asking for social media passwords, so they can see private communications. Sargent says employers want to see private communications meant for their workers friends-and-families – and workers have felt pressure to do it, because of how hard it is to get-and-keep jobs these days.

Businesses say they need to protect themselves from employees who improperly send out things like trade secrets. Earlier, the state’s largest business group said the bill balances personal privacy with the need to monitor work-related Internet activity.