How Safe Is Your Information?


Have you ever wondered how safe your information is when using networks that are not your own? Well, the state of Maryland has got your back. Maryland law signed a bill in the summer of 2015 that makes it illegal for colleges and universities in Maryland to demand or require any kind of access to a student’s social media account.

So what does this mean for you? Bradley Shear, a social media lawyer for the student press law center says “This bill is not intended to protect people from saying or doing dumb things online,” Shear said. “It’s designed to ensure that they have the same privacy protections that they have in the physical space but in the digital space.” Many have reacted on this new bill that passed in senate for a win for online digital privacy.

Students feel their online profiles are private spheres, but many don’t know that this information can be easily requested or uncovered if it is private. Students were surprised to learn that their information on their social profiles was not protected if using University networks or computers. Should Universities have a right to your information if you are using their networks or computers? Many students use social sites to do group work and to communicate with each other about school related work. The University system of Maryland is concerned primarily about one issue still. How is this new bill going to affect student misconduct including sexual cases and academic integrity?

On the flip side, how does this effect cyber attacks, bullying, and misbehavior on the social realm. “Cyber misconduct is a huge issue…and when the social media accounts of students depict harassment, depression, illegal or unethical acts, universities have the right and responsibility to intervene,” Brennan says. “In order for universities to protect their students, it is helpful that they have access to their students’ profiles.”

The Emerging Media Law and Regulation course brings to light the current social privacy issues we are experiencing in the digital age. We see that privacy is something we value as social beings but it is always something we freely give up. As online social networks are integrated in our lives, we often share too many details about our personal self. It is important to note that, yes, Maryland State is battling for your for social media rights and recognizes that your privacy is important digitally as it is physically. But remember, you are what you post and the Internet knows no privacy. What you are thoughts on Maryland’s new bill?

Justin McDonald

Emerging Media Graduate Student

Loyola University

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