California Bill Banning Employers From Seeking Facebook Passwords Sees Full Support

    May 11, 2012
    Josh Wolford
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This Facebook snooping by employers thing has really struck a nerve. Ever since it was reported that there was a rising trend in employers asking prospective employees to turn over their social media passwords for investigative purposes, legislatures at both the state and national level have taken action.

Last month, a bill outlawing the practice passed in Maryland. Now, a similar bill propsed in the California State Assembly has passed without a single nay. AB 1844 was passed by a vote of 73-0.

The bill, introduced by Assembly memeber Nora Campos, is pretty straightforward. No more Facebook (or Twitter, or Google+, or whatever) snooping, employers:

This bill would prohibit an employer from requiring an employee or prospective employee to disclose a user name or account password to access a personal social media account that is exclusively used by the employee or prospective employee.

To clarify, “social media” is defined as “any electronic medium where users may create, share, and view user-generated content, including uploading or downloading videos or still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant messages, or online social networking content.” So that covers quite a bit of online territory.

“I am proud to have received this overwhelming show of support for the protection of our privacy rights,” said Assembly member Nora Campos. “I look forward to working with the Senate and the Governor to ensure that this bill is enacted into law.”

Now, the bill has to clear the upper house, the State Senate.

It’s been debated whether or not the issue of employer Facebook snooping is as widespread as recent reports have suggested. Some are skeptical, while the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says that there are currently 129 cases before the National Labor Relations Board dealing with the practice.

For their part, Facebook has come out in opposition to the practice. In a statement made in March they called it “alarming” and “distressing.” They said that as a Facebook users, “you should never have to share your password, let anyone access your account, or do anything that might jeopardize the security of your account.”

While we will no doubt see more bills like this pop up in state legislatures, some members of the U.S. Congress are taking action as well. Democratic Senators and House Members just proposed the Password Protection Act of 2012, which takes aim at these social media password requests.

[via CNET]
  • http://www.r-evolution-tv.com/ Henri H

    I think it is an outrage that such a bill is actually needed to guarantee the basic privacy rights we should have. It is none of their f….business what you do in your spare time and on the net (of course assuming it has no negative effect on the business you work for)

  • Bob

    I do not understand why companies would even think they have the right to or ask for personal passwords. If someone asked me that during an interview, I would ask them what their private email password was so I could check if I wanted to work for them.

    Do we really need a law to protect people for knowing that they do not need to give potential employers this private information?

  • http://usalawsuitfunding.com Lawsuit Loans

    Facebook is someones personal life laid out on the internet, there should be NO reason an employer demands a password, unless that employer is demanding their own company facebook login. That to me would be invasion of rights we hold as americans.