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ISPLA News-Password Protection Act of 2012 introduced

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  • Peter Psarouthakis
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , May 22, 2012
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      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
      applications.


      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
      password-protected account.


      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
      penalties.


      A number of state bills have also been offered in 2012 to address recent
      concerns of prospective and current employees of businesses requiring such
      access.


      Bruce Hulme

      ISPLA Director of Government Affairs
      www.ISPLA.org

      Your Proactive Voice from State Capitols to the Nation's Capitol



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