Legislature Wants Social Media Passwords to be Off-Limits

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Just because you are willing to share your most intimate secrets with “friends” online doesn’t necessarily mean you are anxious to share the information with prospective employers.


And now the California state Senate has translated that sentiment into legislation, approving a bill, SB 1844, on Friday that would make it illegal for employers and college administrators to ask job applicants and students for their social media account passwords. The Assembly passed similar legislation weeks ago that doesn’t include the higher education prohibition, but neither bill prevents the gathering of information that is publicly available on the internet.


No one is quite sure how widespread the practice of asking for social media passwords is, but Assemblywoman Nora Campos, sponsor of the Assembly bill, said she regarded it as a necessary preventive measure.


A number of other states have introduced comparable legislation, including Maryland, where the issue first received major publicity when Department of Corrections officer Robert Collins was asked for his Facebook password in a re-certification interview. Collins said he felt compelled to provide the information because he needed the job, but he immediately called the American Civil Liberties Union, which took up the cause.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Maryland Passes Bills Banning Employers from Seeking Online Passwords (by Michelle Maltais, Los Angeles Times)

Assembly Votes to Keep Facebook Passwords Private from Employers (by Jessica Guynn, Los Angeles Times)

California Senate OKs Ban to Keep Employers from Social Media Passwords (by Salvador Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times)

Leave a comment