If you’ve at all been keeping up with the latest in the continual drama that is the Facebook saga, you’ve likely heard about a newish, unsavory employment practice. Mentioned here on Techie Buzz before, there have been reported instances of employers asking potential job candidates to hand over their Facebook passwords. For those of us who use Facebook regularly and who have kept an account for several years, we know that handing over a password to a stranger is a gross violation of privacy. But now the law is stepping in to make the practice illegal.
According to a recent Washington Post article, the State of Maryland officially passed legislation, the first of its kind, to ban the practice of employers requesting Facebook passwords as a condition of employment. Passed in both the House and the Senate, the bill, SB 433 (HB 964), needs now only Governor Martin O’Malley’s signature for the law to go into effect. At this time, there’s no indication about when the O’Malley will receive the bill for signing.
The synopsis of the bill says that its purpose is for:
“Prohibiting an employer from requesting or requiring that an employee or applicant disclose any user name, password, or other means for accessing a personal account or service through specified electronic communications devices; prohibiting an employer from taking, or threatening to take, specified disciplinary actions for an employee’s refusal to disclose specified password and related information; prohibiting an employee from downloading specified information or data; etc.”
Other states, including California and Illinois, are in the process of pursuing similar measures. These proposals come on the heels of several incidents in which employers requested Facebook passwords. In Maryland, an officer for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services sought the help of the ACLU after being asked for his password before a recertification interview. The Department subsequently dropped this practice after receiving and ACLU complaint. Now, however, lawmakers understand that this violation of privacy must be made illegal to put a stop to it altogether.
==== About the Author ====
This is a guest post by Jane Smith from background check. She is a Houston based freelance writer and blogger. Questions and comments can be sent to: janesmth161 @ gmail.com