December 19, 2014

Privacy: Lawmakers Introduce Legislation to Protect Internet Passwords

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From The Hill:

A group of Senate and House Democrats introduced legislation on Wednesday to prevent bosses from forcing a job applicant or employee to reveal the password to any private online information, such as a Facebook or email account.

The Password Protection Act would make it illegal for an employer to coerce access to any private data stored on the Internet or to punish people who refuse to provide access to their accounts.

The bill was introduced by Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.). Reps. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) plan to introduce an identical bill in the House.

Read the Complete Article

See Also: News Release From C0-Sponsor Sen. Richard Blumenthal

“Employers don’t ask job applicants for their house keys or bank account information – why should they be able to ask them for their Facebook passwords and gain unwarranted access to a trove of their private information?” said Schumer. “That is why we’re introducing legislation to stop this disturbing practice in its tracks before this invasion of privacy becomes widespread. In an age when more and more of our personal information – and our private social interactions – are online, it is vital that all individuals be allowed to determine for themselves what personal information they want to make public and protect personal information from their would-be employers, especially during the job-seeking process.”

“Online privacy lives and dies with your password, and being forced to surrender this level of protection to an employer for fear of retribution is bullying, plain and simple. The online password protects your social life, personal information and often your bank accounts and no employer should be able to demand that this information be turned over,” said Wyden.

“This is about the right to privacy,” said Klobuchar. “No person should be forced to reveal their private online communications just to get a job. This is another example of making sure our laws keep up with advances in technology and that fundamental values like the right to privacy are protected.”

Read the Legislation
Password Protection Act Of 2012 (May 9, 2012)

Password Protection Act-Summary

Password Protection Act–How It Works

Password Protection Act- Protections and Prohibitions for Employers

On a Somewhat Related Note, Also from the U.S. Government:
“How and Why You Should Write a Social Media Will”

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.