TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New laws protecting social media accounts from employers are a step closer to being passed in New Jersey.

The State Senate passed two bills that would make it illegal for employers or colleges to demand passwords from applicants or students.

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A bill aimed at colleges and universities passed unanimously and prohibits them
from requiring a student or applicant to provide or disclose any user name, password or other means for accessing a personal account through an electronic communications device.

The bill aimed at employers also passed unanimously but must be re-approved by the Assembly since the Senate amended it to exempt law enforcement agencies. Violations would carry fines up to $2,500.

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Supporters say the measures update privacy rules that already exist on what employers can ask.

Business groups have argued they need the passwords to be able to investigate claims of insider trading or sexual harassment.

The bill is being sent to the Assembly for approval before going to the governor.

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