California and Illinois pass laws preventing employers from demanding social media passwords

Eric Abent - Jan 2, 2013
California and Illinois pass laws preventing employers from demanding social media passwords

In this day and age of social media, one wrong move could result in you losing your job. Employers who demand their potential employees’ passwords to their social media accounts don’t make things any easier, but thankfully two states have just imposed laws that prevent employers from doing just that. If you live in California or Illinois, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s now illegal for employers to demand your Facebook, Twitter, or other social media passwords to gain access to your private information.

California and Illinois are joining Michigan, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey as that fifth and sixth states that prohibit such demands. The laws in the other four went on the books throughout 2012, while California and Illinois’ new laws went into effect yesterday. These state laws come after congress failed to pass the Password Protection Act of 2012.

You might not think that this is a common issue, but apparently it’s a complaint lawmakers and social media companies hear often. A business might demand a potential employee’s social media passwords during an interview, something which many consider to be inappropriate. If you’re living in one of the six states listed above, you’re now protected from such demands, but those looking for work in the other 44 states may not be so lucky.

It should be noted that these new laws don’t prevent potential employers from viewing the public information you have on your social profiles, so watch out for that. Then again, these social networks have been around long enough that most of us should know not to post incriminating things for the whole world to see. That’s the hope, anyway. In any case, we’ll likely see more states passing laws like this as time goes on, so stay tuned.

[via Wired]

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