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.
- NSA defends collecting data from U.S. residents not suspected of terrorist activities
- Groups fear bill would allow free flow of data between private sector and NSA
- Google's move into home automation means even less privacy
- Bill to require warrant for email searches gains ground in House
- Coming soon to a fridge near you -- targeted ads
- Snowden leaks prompt tech firms to tout privacy, transparency policies
- License reader lawsuit can be heard, appeals court rules
- Is EU's 'right to be forgotten' really the 'right to edit the truth'?
- Tails 1.0: A bootable Linux distro that protects your privacy
- Privacy jitters derail controversial K-12 big data initiative
Read more about IT Careers in Computerworld's IT Careers Topic Center.
- The Pivotal Big Data Suite- Reducing the Risks of Big Data The explosion of big data and the rapid evolution of big data tools and technologies is challenging IT to meet the demands of...
- A Survival Guide for Data in the Wild All corporate data used to reside in the data center. Safe and sound behind the corporate firewall. But now, employees have multiple devices...
- Transforming Security: Designing a State-of-the-Art Extended Team The information security mission is no longer about implementing and operating controls.
- The Big Data Security Analytics Era Is Here New security risks and old security challenges often overwhelm legacy security controls and analytical tools.
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- Responding to New SSL Cybersecurity Threat The featured Gartner research examines current strategies to address new SSL cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. All Security White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!