What a nice way to start the day — I can update you about 2 great efforts on the privacy front.  The first effort could start a national trend while the second effort will benefit us all.  So now that I’ve, hopefully, grabbed your attention, here’s the positive news I want to share.

The first “good news” is a follow-up to a privacy issue I wrote about before.  On Monday, April 9th, the Maryland Legislature became the first state to pass a law banning employers from asking employees or job applicants for their social media account passwords.  This is very welcome news and let’s hope it starts a national trend.

The second “good news” is that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) just announced this week that it has entered into a voluntary agreement with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon to create a central database to track stolen mobile phones.  If your phone is stolen, you’ll report that theft to your carrier who will then enter the mobile number into the database.  The carrier will then deny service the next time someone tries to use the mobile phone. So I know the reason for this “good news” isn’t good news — people having their smartphones and cellphones stolen.  But the good news is that the FCC and the industry are coming up with a pro-active approach that could really make a difference.  Let’s hope the thieves learn about this effort so they stop stealing phones now — really, what thief will steal an iPhone if he or she knows that it can’t be used? (okay, so maybe I’m being too optimistic but I’ll hope the disallowed service will stop some of the would-be thieves).

Clarence Williams reports on this in today’s Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com; page B5, “Technology targets smartphone thieves.”)  In his article, Mr. Williams reports that the wireless carriers hope to have the database launched in 6 months.  It won’t fix the entire problem but it’s a great start for consumers.