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Maryland, protector of passwords

That headline may not be the catchiest of state nicknames, but it’s accurate.

The Maryland legislature has passed a bill that makes the Free State the first jurisdiction to prohibit employers from asking for the social media user names and passwords of prospective and current employees.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the bill protects Facebook and Twitter info, among others. The measure passed the Senate unanimously and by a wide margin in the House. It now goes to Gov. Marvin O’Malley.

Similar bills are pending in Illinois and California, the Sun reports.

Closer to home, the Virginia State Police made waves last month when it came to light it required trooper applicants to provide their social media user names and passwords as part of the application process. Officials called their practice a “virtual character check.”

The Virginia ACLU protested; for what it’s worth, the Maryland chapter of the ACLU was instrumental in pushing the just-passed measure in Maryland.

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