Thursday, August 2, 2012
State Bars Employers From Seeking Social Network Passwords
Illinois Wednesday became the second state in the nation to bar businesses from asking employees or potential employees for their social media profile passwords. "If they want to share it, that’s their business, but privacy is a fundamental right,” Gov. Pat Quinn said today before signing the bill at a Chicago news conference.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than a dozen other states are considering bills that would restrict employers from asking for information from employees’ profiles on social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley signed his state’s ban in May.
"As a user, you shouldn’t be forced to share your private information and communications just to get a job. And as the friend of a user, you shouldn’t have to worry that your private information or communications will be revealed to someone you don’t know and didn’t intend to share with just because that user is looking for a job,” said a written statement from Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer.
Lori Andrews, director of the Chicago-based Institute for Science, Law and Technology, said that allowing businesses to access information on social sites that has not been shared to the general public would open the door to potential discrimination. “It could reveal things about your religious beliefs or your political affiliations or your sexual preferences.”
Illinois’ law will bar employers from asking for passwords to social media accounts or making employees log in to their account and show it to the employer. It will also keep employers from making workers or applicants grant them access to information on the site that is blocked by privacy settings. However, under the new law an employer could ask for user names and view any information that a worker or job candidate chooses to make public. The law doesn't become effective until next July 1, though.
You can read Jamey's full report at: http://illinoisissuesblog.blogspot.com/2012/08/illinois-becomes-second-state-to-bar.html