New laws keep employers out of worker social media accounts
Employers in Illinois and California are now barred from asking for usernames and passwords for social media pages of workers, job seekers
Computerworld - Employers in Illinois and California cannot ask for usernames and passwords to the personal social media accounts of employees and job seekers under laws that took effect on Jan. 1.
Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn in August signed legislation amending the State's 'Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act.'
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation adding the prohibitions to the State's Labor Code in September.
The two states join Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey and Delaware in implementing such privacy laws.
The state laws were prompted by privacy and worker advocates concerned that some employers were asking job seekers and employees for access to their personal social media accounts as a condition of hiring and employment.
Maryland's law, for instance, was passed after a controversial incident where a sate Division of Corrections worker was asked to provide his Facebook login credentials during a recertification interview.
Similarly, Michigan's law came after an elementary school teacher's aide was fired for refusing to provide school authorities access to her Facebook profile. The request came after a parent complained about seeing what they called an inappropriate photo on the social media site.
In a report issued last year, the Council of State Governments said it had received several reports of people being asked to delete their social media accounts, 'friend' the human resources director and/or supply private login credentials to employers.
The new Illinois law explicitly bans such employer requests, even for jobs that require comprehensive background screening.
The law does, however, allow employers to review publicly available social media information and to monitor employee email and data stored on company computers.
California's law prohibits employers from asking workers for access to social media accounts containing "videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, email, online services or accounts, or Internet Web site profiles or locations."
The law prohibits employers from terminating employees or otherwise retaliating against them for failing to give up passwords or other information used to access personal social media accounts.
Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at @jaivijayan, or subscribe to Jaikumar's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 3 privacy violations you shouldn't worry about
- U.S. commercial drone industry struggles to take off
- Snowden leaks erode trust in Internet companies, government
- NSA phone metadata collection program renewed for 90 days
- NSA isn't evil, says noted civil libertarian
- Franken presses Ford on location data collection practices
- Justices let stand appeals court decision on border searches of laptops
- California lawmakers move to bar state help to NSA
- Appeals court again nixes Google's bid to overturn Street View case
- Older Mac webcams can spy without activating warning light
Read more about IT Careers in Computerworld's IT Careers Topic Center.
- Path Selection Infographic Path Selection Infographic
- Hyperconvergence Infographic A wide range of observers agree that data centers are now entering an era of "hyperconvergence" that will raise network traffic levels faster...
- Preparing Your Infrastructure for the Hyperconvergence Era From cloud computing and virtualization to mobility and unified communications, an array of innovative technologies is transforming today's data centers.
- How WAN Optimization Helps Enterprises Reduce Costs If you wanted to break down innovation into a tidy equation, it might go something like this: Technology + Connectivity = Productivity. Productivity...
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users? All IT Careers White Papers | Webcasts
Our 28th annual survey results show which IT skills are in high demand and which are cooling off. Also, see how your salary stacks up to peers' with our Smart Salary Tool.