ISPLA News-Password Protection Act of 2012 introduced
- Password protection bill: Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) Chuck Schumer
(D-NY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
and Representatives Martin Heinrich (D-NM-1) and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO-7)
announced that they will introduce the "Password Protection Act of 2012,"
which will prohibit employers from asking current or prospective employees
for access to their personal, password-protected accounts on services such
as Facebook or Twitter. Both the Senate and House bills are identical.
Drafted in consultation with major technology companies and legal experts,
the bill addresses this problem by enhancing current law to ensure that
compelling or coercing employees into providing access to data stored in
private accounts is prohibited.
"Employers seeking access to passwords or confidential information on social
networks, email accounts, or other protected Internet services is an
unreasonable and intolerable invasion of privacy," said Blumenthal. "With
few exceptions, employers do not have the need or the right to demand access
to applicants' private, password-protected information. This legislation,
which I am proud to introduce, ensures that employees and job seekers are
free from these invasive and intrusive practices."
"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."
Recent news reports have highlighted a disturbing increase in the number of
employers asking prospective employees to hand over usernames and passwords
to their personal accounts on websites like Facebook. Some job applicants
are even being asked during interviews to log into these websites and allow
interviewers to browse the applicant's profile, acquaintances, and other
information. Others are being asked to provide passwords on job
The Password Protection Act of 2012 enhances current law to prohibit
employers from compelling or coercing employees into providing access to
their private accounts:
Prohibits an employer from forcing prospective or current employees to
provide access to their own private account as a condition of employment.
Prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against a prospective
or current employee because that employee refuses to provide access to a
The Password Protection Act only prohibits adverse employment related
actions as a consequence of an employee's failure to provide access to their
own private accounts. It preserves the rights of employers to:
Permit social networking within the office on a voluntary basis.
Set policies for employer-operated computer systems.
Hold employees accountable for stealing data from their employers
Employers that violate the Password Protection Act may face financial
A number of state bills have also been offered in 2012 to address recent
concerns of prospective and current employees of businesses requiring such
ISPLA Director of Government Affairs
Your Proactive Voice from State Capitols to the Nation's Capitol
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