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Posted: Thursday, September 26, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:55 am, Thu Oct 3, 2013.

Council may bar employers’ social media demands

Employers, unions and job agencies would be prohibited from insisting that employees and potential employees give them access to their social media accounts under a bill being considered by the City Council. A hearing on the measure was held this week.

Some companies have been demanding that workers and applicants let them see what they’re up to on Facebook, Twitter and other websites, setting up privacy battles across the nation. Several states have banned the practice, and many more, including New York, have similar bills pending in their legislatures.

The city measure would allow complaints of alleged violations to be filed with the city, and causing violators to be fined anywhere from $250 to $2,000, and would let employees and applicants sue them for damages. The bill has been co-sponsored by 20 members of the City Council, including five from Queens: Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) and Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone).

Employers would still be allowed to access information that is publicly available, and to request access to private data when conducting investigations into alleged misconduct or violations of the law. They also would still be able to access accounts created for or on behalf of their companies, and to monitor activity on workplace computers.

Bill would let victims of terror sue nations

A measure that would let citizens sue the foreign sponsors of terror attacks committed in the United States, including those of Sept. 11, 2001, was introduced in Congress this week by two lawmakers from New York.

The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act would counter recent court decisions that said terror victims cannot sue foreign countries and other entities such as Saudi Arabian organizations that funded the 9/11 attacks, according to its authors, Rep. Peter King (R-LI) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

King, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Schumer, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the bill would not only help the victims of terrorism achieve justice but also deter future attacks.

Mayor touts safer city in report, but crime up

New York is a far safer city than it was in 2001 before he took office, Mayor Bloomberg says in his new management report for fiscal year 2013, which ended June 30.

The number of major felony crimes has fallen by 36 percent since then, the report says, though the figure has crept up about 5 percent since its lowest point in 2011. Fire fatalities are down 33 percent, while traffic deaths are down 48 percent for drivers and passengers, and down 19 percent for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The full report, of which safety is only a part, is available at nyc.gov.

Artists: Apply now for a senior center residency

There are only four days left for artists to apply for SPARC, the Seniors Participating with Artists Citywide program, which gives participants a stipend and workspace in a senior center in exchange for creating arts programming for the facility’s attendees. The Queens Council on the Arts has all the details at queenscouncilarts.org/sparc. The deadline to apply is Sept. 30.

Three schools honored

Three public schools in Queens are among the six citywide that earned blue ribbon awards from the U.S. Department of Education this year, the United Federation of Teachers announced Tuesday. The awards honor schools that demonstrate student excellence, largely as measured by standardized test scores.

The three Queens schools that were recognized are PS 46 in Oakland Gardens, PS 66 in Richmond Hill and PS 221 in Little Neck.

— compiled by Peter C. Mastrosimone

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