Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), along with eleven other co-sponsors, introduced the Password Protection Act Of 2012 last week to hopefully curb employers who require that employees provide access to password-protected accounts, like Facebook and Twitter.
Individual states, including Maryland and California, have already introduced legislation to ban the increasingly popular practice.
In a press release Thursday, Schiff explained why he's backing the Password Protection Act Of 2012, which would protect users across the country:
This common sense legislation would prevent employers from mandating that job applicants or current employees disclose confidential passwords to their social networks, like Facebook.
Someone's personal page should be just that—personal. These online pages are a modern version of the diary, and people should be free to share their digital diaries or keep them completely private—as they choose.
But job applicants should not be required to turn over their passwords and have their privacy violated in order to secure employment. Especially in this tough economic environment, we should be removing impediments for job seekers, not creating them.
Earlier this year, I was proud to support an amendment that would have accomplished these goals as well, but it was unfortunately voted down on the House floor. I will continue to support privacy protections like this one.
The legislation would:
- Prohibit an employer from forcing prospective or current employees to provide access to their own private account as a condition of employment.
- Prohibit employers from discriminating or retaliating against a prospective or current employee because that employee refuses to provide access to a password-protected account.
- Only prohibit 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.